In the Senate hearing of Wells Fargo John Stumpf, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon mentioned former Wells Fargo banker Yesenia Guitron in his grilling of the CEO on the illegal accounts scandal. Who is Yesenia Guitron?
Eight years ago, according to the Napa Valley woman, she warned supervisors that co-workers at her St. Helena branch were secretly opening and closing accounts without customers’ permission.
Within two months of being hired, Guitron said she started noticing “things that didn’t seem right” — customers were questioning why they were receiving higher service charges than they expected.
At first, she thought it was an honest mistake and the situation temporarily improved, the St. Helena woman said in an interview this week. But her perspective changed as time went on.
“I kept getting more and more people coming in: ‘How come I got this debit card? I didn’t request this debit card,’ or, ‘I got this survey saying I opened an account, but I never opened an account,’” Guitron said. “I was too busy trying to fix everybody else’s big mistakes, and that’s when I realized … this is intentional and there was a very clear pattern.”
Once she was no longer employed by Wells Fargo, Guitron was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in August 2010 alleging the bank had set “unreasonably aggressive and ambitious marketing goals” that encouraged employees to “artificially increase bank activity” and sell products regardless of whether customers actually needed them. The lawsuit also accused Wells Fargo of fostering an environment where employees engaged in “fraudulent and even criminal activity” and managers retaliated against workers who refused to fall in line.
A federal district court sided with Wells Fargo over Guitron in 2012, finding that the bank was justified in firing her. She also lost on appeal in 2015.
But Guitron’s allegations are receiving new attention with the bank embroiled in a national scandal over claims that bear close resemblance to some of the central charges made in her lawsuit.
A U.S. senator recently invoked her case while publicly criticizing Wells Fargo, and she has since been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, Reuters and CBS.
And here is the Ms. Guitron’s lawsuit reported by Courthouse News. Click here. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, the judge in Ms. Guitron’s case. awarded Wells Fargo summary judgment.And I wonder how Judge Wilken feel now that the cat is out the bag about Wells Fargo’s illegal accounts to customers and that Wells Fargo played her and she made the wrong decision in Ms. Guitron’s case: