Analysis of the Wells Fargo Scandal

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Analysis of the Wells Fargo Scandal

✅ Paper Type: Free Essay
✅ Subject: Accounting

✅ Wordcount: 4263 words
✅ Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Brief History of Wells Fargo

As the oldest Bank within the West, Wells Fargo has established standards of service, honesty, and reliableness.  Spurred by the invention of gold, Henry Wells and William Fargo fashioned Wells, Fargo, and Company in 1852. On July 13, 1852, the firm opened its initial work in the metropolis, California, providing banking, express, and mail delivery services to merchants and miners.  As miners’ captive north and east of CA, Wells Fargo’s banking, express, and communicating went with them.  Wells Fargo’s success in CA allowed the corporate to expand quickly.  By October, the primary American state workplace opened on Front Street in Portland. William Barnhart, Wells Fargo’s initial agent in the American state, received the subsequent instructions: “You can please choose and appoint your own Agents at American state town, Salem, and elsewhere.”

Customers not solely entrusted their gold, letters, parcels, and freight to Wells Fargo, some even used the overall categorical company to move their wives and kids. within the 1860s, Wells Fargo connected its far-flung offices via an excellent land coach network extending over three thousand miles of the West. once Californians and Oregonians turned to farm and producing, Wells Fargo continued to supply categorical services.  The firm’s categorical offices blanketed each state and went “ocean to ocean” to NY in 1888.  By 1918, Wells Fargo had a network of eleven thousand offices nationwide.

During the first warfare, the federal placed all of the nation’s categorical firms below government management as a period live to maneuver troops and payload.  Wells Fargo categorical signs fell across the American state, and Wells Fargo was left with one bank in the metropolis. throughout the Twentieth Century, Wells Fargo became the bank it’s far-famed nowadays.  By merging with alternative recognized banks like yank financial organization, Crocker Bank, initial interstate, and Norwest, Wells Fargo has become the nation’s fifth largest bank. once quite one hundred fifty years, the name “Wells Fargo” stands as a logo of integrity and stability worldwide.

Wells Fargo Scandals

American financial organization Wells Fargo was beating the percentages in a very dangerous economy. Throughout the money crisis in 2008, the bank is non-inheritable Wachovia to become the third-largest bank by assets within the United States. A number of years later, its growing revenue and soaring stock brought the company’s price to just about $300 billion. However, behind this success was an organizational culture that drove staff to open dishonest accounts in the plan to reach lofty sales goals. Between 2011 and 2015, company staff opened over 1.5 million bank accounts and applied for over 65,000 credit cards in customers’ names which will not are licensed.

Much former staff reported that company sales goals were not possible to satisfy, and incentives for compensation and current employment inspired vice the system. Wells Fargo pressured staff to cross-sell, giving customers with one sort of product, like checking or savings accounts, to additionally obtain alternative forms of product, like credit cards and loans. One former worker represented it as a “grind-house,” with co-workers “cracking struggling.” Another former worker reported, “If you don’t meet your solutions you’re not a team player. If you’re conveyance down the team then you may be laid-off, and it’ll air your permanent record.”

In mid-2014, the bank tried to curb dishonest activity with associate degree ethics workshop that warned staff to not produce pretend accounts in customers’ names. Wells Fargo additionally changed its compensation structure to put less stress on sales goals. However, within the following years, these efforts weren’t enough. The corporate continued to get rid of staff over dishonest accounts. This financial institution’s female parent Eshet expressed, “The steps we’ve got been taking are effective…[and] we tend to area unit continued to try and do a lot of.” Their own analysis showed a decline in pretending accounts by 2015, however several were still being created.

One former worker represented his temporary time at Wells metropolis as “the lowest purpose of my life.” He inspired associate degree senior lady to sign on for a Mastercard she failed to need by telling her “it was confirmation that she stopped by to update her address.” This created him sick to his abdomen. He reported, “But it had been a tricky economy, and that I was upset if I lost this job, I’d be in a very powerful money scenario.” Deceptive practices like this were widespread across the corporate, and lots of former staff reported that their managers knew concerning them. Jonathan Delshad, an attorney performing on behalf of the former staff, said, “The higher they did at sales, a lot they advanced, therefore it got unfold across the corporate. A complete generation of managers thrived within the culture, got rewarded for it, and area unit currently in positions of power.” One former worker mentioned she couldn’t meet sales goals in any moral approach and known as the Wells Fargo’s ethics hotline. She was eventually laid-off.

In 2016, the Well metropolis was penalized a combined total of $185 million for dishonest activity, and business executive John Stumpf resigned. Between 2011 and 2016, about five,300 staff were laid-off for dishonest sales practices. Sales quotas were eliminated effective Gregorian calendar month one, 2017.

Wells metropolis incorporates a responsibility to treat its customers fairly. The bank offered many alternative services to its customers. However, the bank’s management set unrealistically high sales goals for its staff, encouraging several staff to game the system. If a client bought one service, staff were urged to “cross-sell” many a lot of. “Eight is great” was the corporate mantra. The sole approach that Wells metropolis staff might meet their impractical sales targets, and thereby keep their jobs, was to create up accounts that customers had not requested and sometimes didn’t even recognize they were being charged for. The staff unreal several dishonest accounts so as to stay their bosses happy and stay used. It had been a classic conflict of interest.

Fake Account Scandal

According to information discharged by Wells urban center, the quantity of latest accounts being opened at the bank has plummeted. New shopper checking accounts were down 41% in Nov compared to an equivalent month last year. And applications for line cards born by nearly 0.5, or 45%.

(By The Motley Fool: Stocks Advisor)

This comes within the wake of the buyer money Protection Bureau’s revelation in the Gregorian calendar month that thousands of Wells urban center staff had detached to two million faux accounts for purchasers so as to satisfy sales targets and thereby boost the bank’s cross-sell quantitative relation.

Since then, the bank has paid $185 million in fines for the conduct, eliminated sales goals in its branches, lost the flexibility to rent and hearth executives or board members while not regulative approval. Associate in nursing suffered through an onslaught of negative subject matter streaming from allegations that the bank reproved staff WHO tried to bring the scandal to lightweight.

Long-Term Impact of Fake Account Scandal on Wells Fargo

The question going forward is whether or not Wells Fargo can suffer long consequences for the seed that they need to be sowed. On one hand, there is very little reason to believe it’ll impact the bank’s long history of operational expeditiously and providentially managing risk and secondly, of its main competitive blessings.

One factor entering into Wells Fargo’s favor is the proven fact that bank branches square measure already losing their connectedness, replaced by mobile and online banking. This minimizes the drawback to the bank’s call to eliminate product sales goals for its branch-based employees.

(By The Motley Fool: Stocks Advisor)

Wells Fargo has twenty 7.4 million active digital customers, 18.8 million of that use its mobile app. Consequently, whereas the number of shoppers visiting Wells urban center branches fell in Nov compared to 2015, some of the distinction is captured by the expansion of digital banking. Online and mobile banking sessions redoubled 100 percent over an equivalent stretch.

Company Culture

Let’s take a glance at incidents that have occurred and have disclosed the company’s culture.

Brodie, a victim, Texan 911 dispatcher. In 2012, he was sent a Mastercard without his notice and willingness. Upset, he contacted his Wells Fargo’s branch to cancel it. Strangely, they refused. However, the bank secures that if Brodie didn’t use the cardboard, he wouldn’t pay any interest fees.

They lied: A year later, he discovered that the cardboard racked up $1300 in fees, inflicting his credit score to come by one hundred twenty-five points. once he tried to shop for his initial home, he learned that he was disqualified for a loan. He has tried to require half in a very class-lawsuit against the bank, however, was forced into arbitration.

In response to the pretend account scandal, the bank pink-slipped 5,300 workers. However, this can be like swing a band-aid on a bullet wound for an organization that employs nearly 270,000 people.

Corruption: Employees were expected to follow the cross-selling strategy. Their mandate was to sell eight products per client by hook or by crook, as a result of the additional product a client had, the additional profit Wells city generated with interests and charges.

Whenever a colleague raised issues regarding these high targets, Carrie Tolstedt, head of Wells city community bank, unheeded them. She didn’t settle for any criticism of her and also the bank’s unhealthful culture.

Management: Blaming lower workers for business corruption is straightforward. However, public scandals like Wells city show a much bigger drawback than a number of employees misbehaving. Unhealthful cultures exist as a result of senior leaders permit it.

Karl Weick’s Theory of Organizing

Karl Weick writes of the process-oriented organizing, instead of the structural orienting organization. Communication is vital to the organizing method as a result of an oversized think about the sense-making method folks use once they organize. The sense-making method is a trial to scale back equivocality, which means avoiding interpretation of multiple meanings within the data employed by the folks within the organization. Once data is handled by the organizers they are going through the stages of:

enactment — wherever they outline matters and start the method of handling the knowledge

choice — wherever they slender the equivocality by deciding what to influence and what to go away.

retention — wherever they decide to go further with, they’re going to retain for future use.

In each the choice and retention stages there are extra processes. These processes rely on double interacts. Associate degree act happens once you say one thing (“Can I actually have a document?”). Associate degree act happens once you say one thing, and that I respond (“Yes, it’ll be useful for the meeting.”). A double act happens once you say one thing, I respond, then you answer that, adjusting your 1st statement (“Well, I would like it too for a employees meeting.”). Double interacts works in:

assembly rules — in the operating procedures employed by the corporate to decide on what to try and do maximize the chance of achieving the goal at the end.

behavior cycles — sets of double interacts the organization uses to facilitate the choice and retention method. Samples of behavior cycles; employees conferences, coffee-break rumoring, e-mail conversations, internal reports, etc.

Weick sees the organization as a system taking in equivocal data from its setting, making an attempt to form a sense of that data, and victimization what was learned within the future. As such, organizations evolve as they create sense out of themselves and their setting.


Improving Company’s Culture

“Every tale of corporate scandal begins with culture”

The management and the employees together create the environment of the company. The witnesses, the employees are the majority and must be trained to enhance the company’s culture. The management, on the other hand, must acquire refined leadership roles. It is important to first understand the company’s culture in detail before taking any actions. To do so, a Culture Survey has to be taken by the employees.

The survey is to serve as a S.W.O.T analysis to uncover positive attributes about the current culture and its potential weaknesses so your leaders can understand how to create an ethical, inclusive, and customer-focused culture.

Goal: transform from a culture that “sells products” into one that “services customers.”

How to achieve the Goal: By using Karl Weick’s Theory of Organization. Conduct a survey to know the roots of the culture, which will fulfill enactment. The selection procedure would focus on prioritizing the duties and respectively divide the work. This will make the two sides of business clear, the customer service and the profit gaining. Finally, at the end retention would be keeping the company going towards the result it acquires after this change. In the future, according to the market change and needs of the customers, the program will keep updating.


Culture Survey

This survey is intended to solicit your confidential input on your company/department culture, communication channels and regular operating atmosphere.  This survey ought to take regarding twenty minutes to complete.

For this survey to be useful and correct in describing your organization, it’s necessary that you just answer every question as honestly as attainable.

Confidentiality: Your responses to the present survey are going to be unbroken fully anonymous.


Please answer following questions with (1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree)

There is a chance of growth in this company

You have an opportunity to learn new things

You can communicate straightforwardly and openly

The management can be trusted

Your ideas and suggestions are taken into count

Level of responsibility

The atmosphere in the workplace is fast pace but calm

You are appreciated to be a part of the decision-making panel

The connection between employees and supervisor/manager is strong

The bond among co-workers is fresh

The key skill, teamwork, is your strength

The pressure given is manageable

The working hours’ clause is taken seriously  

Open-ended culture survey questions (answer briefly)

The work that you do is respected?

What according to you would make Wells Fargo a better place to work?

Are you feeling excited about coming to work? Why?

Is the atmosphere at workplace comfortable?

The work allotted feels like pressure or stressful?

According to you, can you go share your views and talk to management comfortably?

Do you feel like you have all the support that you need to do your job properly?

Do you get enough feedback for your work? Do you think feedback is important?

Do you think you are listened to?

We will help Wells Fargo create three new teams and streamlining the organizational structure to rebuild trust and transform the experiences of team members and customers.

An internal message that the bank would assess internal and external candidates to steer 3 new groups:

• Customer Segments centered on core client teams like little businesses and also the affluent.

• Customer and Branch expertise centered on the expertise within the branch and among team members and customers.

• Business Strategy and Administration, to target the expansion of the corporate.

These 3 new teams can change the USA to still target what matters: the distinctive desires of our customers across segments, the branch and team member expertise, and also the structure to drive the business and efforts to make a more robust bank and restore trust. This can permit the USA to be even a lot of efficient and consistent across the branches.

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Leadership plays a very important role in each formal and informal systems. (A) the leader’s honesty, (B) whether or not the leader treats his/her followers with dignity and respect, (C) interactive fairness, (D) liberal attractive leadership and (E) abusive oversight. At Wells Fargo, the guilt of leadership went hand-in-hand with the air mass, numbers-focused sales culture. The conduct, decisions, and interactions of the senior leadership provided moral steering to middle managers concerning behavioral expectations, that were then cascaded to lower level staff. Gazing the timeline of the scandal’s unfolding, and consistent with business executive John Stumpf’s legislative assembly testimony, the dishonorable practices were 1st delivered to their attention in 2011, however, were downplayed as minor occurrence incidents. It had been solely when media reports in 2013-2014 that leadership slowly began to take things seriously.

The first responsibility of the leadership team is to confirm they’re obtaining the easiest out of the workforce, and it’s very important that these leaders have the proficiencies required to form this happen. There are four steps we tend to think about as we tend to produce a leadership development program.

1. Define the qualities and skills of every leadership position within the organization. These proficiencies ought to become the framework for mastering required leadership skills. These abilities ought to be printed from a starting proficiency to final skill mastery.

2. Assess the leader’s current data and proficiency within the necessary ability. If we tend to use them on top of ability, we tend to confirm that our leader features a solid understanding and perpetually brings required modification to lightweight to the leaders on top of them. This is able to be the start line for his or her leadership development.

3. Develop a private Improvement set up. Where will the leader fall on the skill’s scale? define the method for sprucing, growing and developing to succeed in consequent level within the scale.

4. Guaranteed frequently scheduled conferences with the leader. These conferences are to examine au courant their method, growth, and advancement to the consequent level of ability. this can be our chance to teach and mentor your leader.

We have a private favorite leadership educational program referred to as Save the globe just about. It’s India-based evolved program, one amongst a growing range of associate degree uncommon leadership coaching programs supported computer game. It’s classroom-based, however, the simulated world it takes place in is most undoubtedly not.

Picture this: There has been a worldwide disaster. The air can flip toxic and deadly at intervals consequent three hundred and sixty-five days. It’s up to you and your little team to seek out the way to finish a genetic experiment that provides humans the power to breathe the ototoxic air.

This is designed to let participants assess and develop their skills in areas like controlled attention, government operate, stress and mood levels, resilience, handling human dynamics, and distinctive emotions. Nearly all groups fail the primary plan to complete the mission. Then they re-strategize and do a second spherical, that is even more durable.

By golf shot participants in non-traditional settings, these coaching courses attempt to build the takeaways lasting. Pisano says that outside-the-classroom experiences compel leaders to be open and use all their senses: “when the educational becomes physical, it sticks.”

We’re absolutely committed to acting quickly to form things higher for Wells Fargo, thus we will target their satisfaction. We’ll conjointly reshape Wells Fargo’s priorities with improved worker ethics coaching and new compensation and performance management plans for bankers centered on client expertise, stronger oversight and controls, and team versus individual incentives. As a result of once you are happy, so are we.


Gandel, S. (2018, May 17). Wells Fargo Still Hasn’t Gotten Ahead of Its Problems. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-05-17/wells-fargo-still-hasn-t-gotten-ahead-of-its-problems

Hall, J. (2018, October 17). Is Wells Fargo & Company a Buy? Retrieved from https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/10/17/is-wells-fargo-company-a-buy.aspx

History. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.wellsfargohistory.com/history/

McLean, B. (2017, June 30). How Wells Fargo’s Cutthroat Corporate Culture Allegedly Drove Bankers to Fraud. Retrieved from https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/05/wells-fargo-corporate-culture-fraud

Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes (9780495898320): Katherine Miller: Books. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Organizational-Communication-Approaches-Katherine-Miller/dp/0495898325

Weick, K. E. (1979). The social psychology of organizing (2nd ed.). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Weick, K. E., Sutcliffe, K. M., & Obstfeld, D. (2005). Organizing and the Process of Sensemaking. Organization Science, 16(4), 409-421. doi:10.1287/orsc.1050.0133

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