Daily Archives: September 21, 2016

June report by an advocacy group found similar types of unnecessary and predatory accounts have been opened at BofA, J.P. Morgan and SunTrust

National Employment Law Project website:

Banking on the Hard Sell incorporates information gleaned from class action lawsuits, landscape literature on banking practices, and interviews with dozens of workers employed by numerous banks in many positions to investigate the dangers of aggressive sales metrics to customers and workers alike. We find that workers suffer harassment and threats in order to make ever-changing over-aggressive quotas, and that low base wages mean they need to put their own financial interests above those of the customers. We note that at least one large U.S. bank, Amalgamated, does not use these types of quotas and that in other countries, agreements between bank workers and their employers ensure decent quality jobs and banking practices that put the customer first.

Key Findings

  • Even six years after launching new consumer protections, the number of complaints to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) concerning “Bank Account or Services” and “Debt Collection” continue to rise.
  • Fees and service charges on deposit accounts, credit cards, and other products accounted for more than a quarter of revenues at one big bank, Wells Fargo, while “Commission and Incentive Compensation” expenses totaled only half of that windfall, meaning that the employees who sell the products that bring in millions of dollars for their employer reap less than half the reward, with the banks pocketing the rest.
  • Workers speak out:
    • A Maryland SunTrust worker says that “the goals are constantly shifting. If you don’t hit your goal, it goes up 5 percent. If you do hit your goal, it goes up 10-15 percent.”
    • A California teller recalled, “God forbid you went home without solutions. You could be subjected to ridicule for not meeting goals.”
    • Several workers note that managers would look the other way when documentation verifying identity was lacking or when forms were turned in signed but not filled in.
    • Another worker with experience at both SunTrust and Bank of America recalled, “Managers really pushed me to ignore it when consumers say no.”
    • One Minnesota U.S. Bank collections worker said, “There was a constant battle of how you do right for the customer without sacrificing, you know, not paying a light bill or having shoes for the kids going back to school. You can’t make that sacrifice.”
  • Banks in other countries—often the same banks that operate in the United States—work with bank workers to establish codes of conduct regarding sales quotas that ensure business success while still protecting customers and ensuring decent working conditions.

 

FORMER WELLS FARGO & TD BANK WORKERS COMMENT ON WELLS FARGO CEO SENATE HEARING

Khalid Taha, Former Wells Fargo Retail Worker & Current Committee For Better Banks Member
My name is Khalid Taha, and until July 2016 I was a personal banker at a Wells Fargo in San Diego, California. When I came to the United States as a refugee, I had high hopes.  After years of being torn by war, first in Iraq and then in Syria, my family and I moved to San Diego. I expected to find a good job in the United States, with good working conditions. But the reality I encountered was different.

The unreasonable sales quotas at Wells Fargo have taken a huge toll on workers like me. The branch where I worked was structured in such a way that we had to meet sales quotas every day. If I did not meet my sales goals I could get written up and risked being fired. This kind of pressure meant we had to prioritize selling products, rather than just focusing on what best matched our customers’ needs. On a daily basis, I had a quota of approximately 10 to 15 personal accounts, 2-3 new accounts, 2-3 credit cards and/or loans; and a daily referral for an insurance or mortgage product.

Wages for frontline bank workers are very low, with the average teller earning about $12.40 per hour. Even though we made incentive bonuses for meeting high sales targets they did not add up to a lot of money. The strongest incentive for meeting our sales goals was to avoid disciplinary action and termination.

In fact, in all the time I worked at Wells Fargo, I never heard of a worker being fired for overzealous selling. If workers were fired it was because they couldn’t meet the excessive sales targets.

Not only were the sales goals hurting the lives of Wells Fargo’s workers, they were hurting our customers as well. I would constantly have customers come in saying that they could not afford the monthly maintenance fees for their checking accounts because they were on a fixed income. Wells Fargo’s solution was always focused on selling a new product, so the workers would be directed to tell the customer to open a savings account, so that they would not have to pay the maintenance fee for the checking account.

But opening a savings account meant the customer had to enroll in automatic funds transfer from their checking to their savings accounts. With less in the checking account, they were more likely to be hit with overdraft fees of $35 per occurrence. Instead of helping lower income customers to avoid paying fees, Wells Fargo’s insistence on selling new products ended up taking more money out of the customer’s pocket.

That’s why last year I decided to join The Committee for Better Banks. I have met other workers who like me want to improve our jobs and the banking industry.

And there are more statements from former Wells Fargo employees. Click here.

Wells Fargo’s Business Model is Fraud

By Senator Sanders:

Let’s be clear, the business model of Wall Street is fraud. In my view, there is no better example than the recently-exposed illegal behavior at Wells Fargo.

The CEO of Wells Fargo admitted today that he knew in 2013 the bank was scamming customers, but he took no action to fire or reprimand the senior executives in charge of supervising this activity. Instead, they were given millions in bonuses, while the value of the stock that the CEO owned shot up in value by more than $200 million.

Wells Fargo’s abuse of its customers is not an aberration. In April, the bank reached a $1.2 billion settlement with the Department of Justice for ‘reckless’ and ‘shoddy’ underwriting on thousands of home loans from 2001 to 2008. In 2012, Wells Fargo was fined $175 million to settle claims of discriminatory and predatory subprime lending in black and Hispanic neighborhoods.

Clinton weighs in on ‘deeply disturbing’ Wells Fargo scandal, vows to protect CFPB

Housingwire:

As the embattled megabank’s CEO, John Stumpf, prepared to be grilled on Capitol Hill on Tuesday over the fake account scandal surrounding the bank, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton weighed in on the issue, saying that she is “deeply disturbed” by the bank’s conduct, and took the opportunity to defend theConsumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In an open letter ostensibly to Wells Fargo’s customers, Clinton said that she expected Stumpf to have a “clear explanation” of what led to the bank being fined $185 million by the CFPB, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the city and county of Los Angeles.

CFPB consumer complaint database about to hit 1 million complaints

Cordray discusses milestone during Wells Fargo hearing

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s much-maligned consumer complaint database is about to reach 1 million total complaints, CFPB Director Richard Cordray said Tuesday.

Cordray revealed the approaching milestone during his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee over the CFPB’s role in the $185 million fine levied against Wells Fargo for opening up 2 million fake accounts.

Read on.

Sen. Warren grills Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf at Senate Banking Committee

Go get em’ Elizabeth!!!

Wells Fargo proud of cross-selling – getting customers to open more accounts. See the earnings calls:

From 2012

p.7.

We increased our dividend rate to $0.22 per share, which we paid to our shareholders in the first quarter. We are well positioned to continue to grow, ending the quarter with a strong mortgage pipeline, and we are focused on capitalizing on acquisition opportunities, increasing our cross-sell, growing our loans and deposits, and reducing our expenses. —John Stumpf – Wells Fargo & Company – Chairman, President, CEO

p 6.

Let me now briefly highlight on our segment results starting on page 13. Community banking earned $2.5 billion in the second quarter, up 8% from the first quarter. Retail banking reached a record cross-sell of 6 products per household, up from 5.82 a year ago. Cross-sell growth occurred throughout our franchise, with the West increasing to 6.37 and the East increasing to 5.52, up 27 basis points from a year ago. The momentum in the East is also demonstrated by core product sales growing by 5% from a year ago. Credit card penetration in our retail banking households continued to increase to 31%, up from 27% a year ago. We generated record consumer auto originations in the second quarter of $6.6 billion, up 6% from the first quarter and up 18% from a year ago.–John Stumpf – Wells Fargo & Company – Chairman, President, CEO

p.3

This strong performance during a period of slow and uneven economic growth was driven by momentum across Wells Fargo’s diversified businesses. We have a broad set of products that enables us to meet all of our customers’ financial needs, which is reflected by our record retail banking cross-sell this quarter of 6.04 products per household. In the current low rate environment, our mortgage business continued to benefit from strong refi and purchase volume, and credit quality reached and reflected an improving housing market. Our credit card business is successfully generating new account growth, up 46% from a year ago and we are focused on increasing customer card usage, which is generating strong balance and fee growth. We have grown managed accounts assets in our retail brokerage business over 25% in the past 12 months, driven by strong net flows and market performance.—John Stumpf – Wells Fargo & Company – Chairman, President, CEO

p.7

Turning to our segment results starting on page 15, Community Banking earned $2.9 billion in the fourth quarter, up 14% from a year ago and up 5% from the third quarter. Retail Banking achieved a record cross-sell of 6.05 products per household, up from 5.93 a year ago. Our credit card business continues to grow with credit card balances up 4% linked quarter to a record $24.6 billion, with a record $12.6 billion of purchased dollar volume in the fourth quarter. This growth reflects seasonal holiday spending and strong account growth. New consumer credit card accounts grew 11% from the fourth quarter of 2011 with household penetration increasing to 33%, up from 29% a year ago—John Stumpf – Wells Fargo & Company – Chairman, President, CEO

Sen.Warren website:

2012

2013

2014