Young salespeople were expected to meet goals by any means necessary.
On Friday’s episode of NPR’s Planet Money, formerWells Fargo employees offered details of young salespeople being subjected to intense pressure to sign customers up for multiple accounts, ultimately leading them to engage in fraud. The report also undermines CEO John Stumpf’s claims, including those made before congressional committees, that leadership was unaware of that fraud.
A former salesperson identified only as “Ashley” recounts some familiar parts of the story, including the bank’s steep sales goals. For much of her tenure, salespeople were expected to create eight new accounts per day—though sometimes the quota was as high as 20.
When she didn’t meet her quotas, Ashley says she would be subjected to humiliating “coaching sessions” and warned that she would be fired if she didn’t do better. She describes vomiting at her desk from the stress. Another employee speaking to Planet Money describes the atmosphere as a “grindhouse.”