Some at Wells Fargo say they fear using ‘ethics line,’ even as bank vows to fix it

Wells Fargo’s new CEO says the bank is tackling concerns about how the company handles ethics complaints filed by its workers.

Some employees, though, say it’s still not enough.

Speaking to employees Thursday during a town-hall meeting in Iowa, Tim Sloan said the bank has found “instances” in which employees may have faced retaliation after making complaints to its ethics line reporting system, according to prepared remarks the bank posted online. The San Francisco-based bank is “looking into any and all allegations of retaliation” and will take appropriate actions based on findings, the CEO said.

Sloan called retaliation “totally unacceptable” and said the bank has conducted an “end-to-end” review of its ethics line and made changes. He did not provide details.

The lack of specificity is worrying some employees as the bank continues to reel from asales scandal. One Wells Fargo employee who works in Charlotte said Sloan’s comments did little to put her at ease and that she would be reluctant to file an ethics complaint.

“It just sounds like more of the same lip service,” said the employee, who asked not to be named to protect her job.

“Until we see the changes being made … until things actually happen, then I think the skepticism remains,” she said. “I would definitely think twice before I raise my hand.”


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