U5:Workers Say Wells Fargo Unfairly Scarred Their Careers


Wells Fargo not only fired the 5,300 employers for the fake account scandal but the bank ruined their careers in the banking industry…


Former Wells Fargo employees tell NPR that managers at the bank retaliated against them for calling the company’s ethics line and pushing back against reckless sales practices. They say the bank fired them or pushed them to resign and then, in effect, put a scarlet letter on their permanent record that has damaged their careers and prevented them from getting hired by other banks.


Wells Fargo has been engulfed in a major banking scandal in recent weeks. Employees opened up as many as 2 million accounts for customers who didn’t want them and didn’t even know they existed. Regulators said all this amounted to rampant fraud within the bank, and so far they have hit Wells Fargo with penalties totaling $185 million, including the largest such penalty ever levied by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Given his outspoken criticism of the unethical sales practices in the branch where he worked, Jeremy says, he couldn’t believe it when in late 2008, his manager called him into his office. There was someone from HR there too. And Jeremy says he was told basically he could quit, or the bank was going to open an investigation into whether he opened accounts for customers without their consent. He says he was told if the investigation began, there was a good chance he’d be fired. Jeremy figured this was retribution for his speaking out. He was 26 years old. He got scared and he quit. “I went to lunch, came back and I said nope — I’m outta here, I’m done.”

But it wasn’t that simple. Jeremy didn’t realize it at the time, but Wells Fargo wrote him up on what’s called his U5 document. It’s like a report card for bankers. And the bank put what amounted to a big red flag on it. Jeremy soon found he couldn’t get hired by any other bank.


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