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.
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