During a branch visit, a manager said to target the young, the uneducated, and foreigners who didn’t speak English well, a former Wells Fargo employee told BuzzFeed News.
A Wells Fargo district manager from Washington state allegedly outlined in a 2010 speech the three types of customers that sales employees should target for opening new, and often unneeded, accounts: “young, less educated, and Mexican,” a former sales employee who was at the event told BuzzFeed News.
The district manager came from a high-performing branch to the employee’s Washington branch to deliver a training address that the employee, who worked as a personal banker, compared to the one “Alec Baldwin gave in Glengarry Glen Ross.”
The employee left the bank in 2011 and wished to remain anonymous because he still works in the industry, which he described as “very sensitive to the press.”
During the event, the employee asked if he could keep a sales sheet on which the manager allegedly wrote “Mexican” and other notes during the training session. The employee then provided the notes to BuzzFeed News:
“Young people who didn’t know better, and we could convince them without much pushback,” the employee said in an email. “Less educated people were an easy target for selling additional checking/savings accounts.”
But, the employee said, the “truly insulting” target was foreigners. The manager “went on to explain that foreigners, especially Mexicans, didn’t understand English very well, so they would say ‘yes’ or agree to what we were selling more often than not.”
“The things he outlined in the path to success; that’s when I knew this cannot be right,” the employee said. His coworkers at the meeting were also shocked, he said. “You could have heard a pin drop.”