Elizabeth Warren entered the U.S. Senate propelled by her advocacy of consumer protections against rapacious Wall Street greed. She was, after all, one of the architects of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, authorized by the Dodd-Frank reforms of the financial sector. That she found herself in the proverbial mix when then-Wells Fargo CEO, John Stumpf, came to testify before the Senate’s Banking Committee in the fall of 2016, right in the middle of the fake accounts incident, came as no surprise.
What did, however, was the vehemence of her exchange with Stumpf, whose “gutless leadership” she chided, before calling for his resignation as well as recommending that his actions be criminally investigated. You see, at that time, it seemed like Stumpf would be the one keeping his job while thousands of his lower-level Wells Fargo employers had lost theirs, as Warren put it:
But you squeezed your employees to the breaking point so they would cheat customers and you could drive up the value of your stock and put hundreds of millions of dollars in your own pocket.
And when it all blew up, you kept your job, you kept your multi-multimillion-dollar bonuses, and you went on television to blame thousands of $12-an-hour employees who were just trying to meet cross-sell quotas that made you rich.
Of course, history didn’t turn out quite the way Warren expected it to. For one, Stumpf would resign his post as CEO not that long after his run-in with Warren. But what of the 5,300 Wells Fargo employees who lost their jobs because of misconduct during the cross-sell era? The news cycle has moved on (and on) without fulling accounting with their (collective) fate.
Well, it turns out many have subsequently returned to the San Francisco-headquartered bank. That’s because according to the man who replaced Stumpf, Tim Sloan, they were just as much victims of Wells Fargo’s cross sell practices as many customers. “The old sales goals and pressure failed our team members,” Sloan said. “I apologize for the damage done.”
Moreover, those employees will be returning to a far different Wells Fargo than the one they worked at before. Specifically, Wells Fargo has radically modified its sales compensation program, building a new program on the following five pillars:
- No product sales goals
- Compensation based on customer service
- Metrics heavily weighted towards team, not individual, goals
- Additional monitoring and controls to provide enhanced sales oversight
- Periodic reviews
To learn more about the infamous Wells Fargo cross selling program, read our spotlight on the fake accounts incident.
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