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Friday, October 28, 2016


A cranky opinion for
The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with limited knowledge of the topic opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome, but they are wrong.  As always, please, no name calling, that means you, you big stupid-head!
The CEO of Wells Fargo recently decided to step down after his bank got caught creating false accounts and ripping people off in tiny pieces (mostly, I think, service charges.) Poor bastard, it wasn’t his fault, the fraud was all done by lower level managers and clerical workers.  I suspect the scaty-eight million dollars he took with him in bonuses and stock options will help take the sting out of his leaving.
I have to admit, that even though I have read about this case several times I’m not completely sure how much any customers were hurt by the bank’s illegal activity.  I don’t think anyone was beat up badly ala Bernie Madoff, I think there was a lot of nickel and dime expenses but that no one was seriously financially injured.
I believe that is why this fraud went on undetected for so long.
Who I really feel sorry for are the low-level bank employees that helped perpetrate this fraud.  Were these employees bad people?  Did they walk away with scads of money? I don’t think so.  I believe most of the perpetrators were pressed to open new accounts no matter what.  If they didn’t meet their quota they did not get a good review, did not get a raise and were rightfully concerned about keeping their job.
Apparently, everyone at the bank (and I suspect other banks) were pressured to bring in new business.  In effect, everyone was expected to be a salesperson, and an awful lot of people are not cut out as salespeople, I know I am not.
When news about Wells Fargo came out, I was not surprised.  Several years ago, Mrs. Cranky told me the reason she left working at her bank was she was being pressured every day to open new accounts.  She liked her job, she was good with numbers, but she was told to ask every customer questions which directed them or encouraged them to “take advantage of the banks many products.” She was expected to open a certain amount of accounts (think quotas.)
I found that difficult to believe.  How could anyone expect tellers or even their supervisors to have a quota of new products they had to sell? 
Apparently, it was true, and what fries my patoot is I know God damn well that if people were being pressured at every level, then every level on up, especially the CEO, knew about and were responsible for this pressure.
What suddenly set me off about banks abusing of their hard-working, salt of the earth blue collar employees?  Recently I read a comment on an ancient post I was researching for my weekly re-run. 
I found it very interesting, as it relates to this Wells Fargo story and confirms what my wife told me many years ago.  The comment was on a post about a sales job I almost took and why I could not sell something to someone whom I knew did not want what I was selling.
This is the comment made over five years before Wells Fargo was sanctioned for opening unauthorized accounts, mostly by lower -level employees who felt pressured to do so:
“I just left a job at a big bank about 3 months ago (I have another job now) where I had to start selling things to every single customer. this would be fine, if I didn't work in IT/tech support for that bank. customers don't want to get help troubleshooting their quicken/QuickBooks access for 45 mins and then be asked, ‘have you thought about starting a supplemental IRA with us?’

that is so obnoxious.
This comment was on a post from September 2011.  Interesting isn’t it.  I wonder how many thousands of employees’ lives were made miserable by the high-pressure tactics forced on them by the bank’s executives.
I hope the CEO and other high executives of Wells Fargo run into a Mr. Even Steven. 


The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man, and I’m pretty sure management, Mrs. Cranky, agrees.


  1. It is almost like they are encouraged to "up sell" like waiters/waitresses are at restaurants to add an appetizer, dessert, etc. I wouldn't care to work in such an environment. I'm just 0.5% knowledgeable about what has been going on at Wells Fargo, not enough to really comment on it. It is for these reasons I like the job I work at, though in other reasons I hate the job I work in.


  2. I am not a fan of big banks. At all. I'm like Bernie Sanders-level unhappy with the big banks.

    But I'm a customer of Wells Fargo, and I'm sort of shocked that this is the biggest scandal that they can connect to the bank right now.

    The CEO appeared before a congressional committee and all of the congress people took turns yelling "Shame!" at him and I just kept thinking, "Y'all haven't managed to pass a real budget in 8 years and you're yelling 'Shame!' at other people for what appears to be a bad but fairly innocuous business scandal?"

    I assume that the big banks are doing worse things than this. I'd be delighted if this was the worst.

  3. OMG you have opened my eyes.... several times recently I was asked if I want to move money to a better deal. I've changed banks since then but I guess things 'go on' whichever bank I choose.

  4. I don't think banks out here have such quotas. I can't be sure of course, but I've never been asked to open any extra accounts, perhaps because I have so little money any skimming would be noticed by me right away.
    BUT, when working as a checkout chook, I was required to ask customers if they wanted to join whatever loyalty card the store was currently pushing or if they wanted to donate to whatever fundraiser cause was current. I hated doing this and frequently didn't unless the boss or super was standing right beside me listening.

  5. It is the same in any store where the employee asks you, as you pay for your items, "Would you like to apply for our credit card and get 10% off today's purchase?" They are not given hours on the sales floor or fired if they don't open up a certain number of accounts.

    It's where the banks and stores make their money, generating new customers, and it's wrong, wrong, wrong!

  6. I worked in a bank after graduating from college and I lasted only three months before deciding it wasn't for me.

  7. You knew this was going to strike a nerve with me, didn't you? Yes, the fraud goes all the way to the top. In their stockholder reports they talked about how happy WF customers were, exemplified by how many additional accounts they had opened. THAT'S one reason their stock price shot up like it did and made the Ivory tower guys so much $$$$ personally. Yet 5,300 lower level employees who couldn't meet their quotas were either let go or quit under pressure, while the CEO and others got to keep most of theirs, and avoided jail. You see now why Bernie and Warren are such Big Bank haters? Grrrr!

  8. makes me glad i didn't go to work for the local bank.

  9. Last year just before Christmas I went with the wee man to open an account for him at the BMO bank. Since then I have weekly calls from the bank wanting to sell me insurance or various useless services. The poor little guy just has a little over a hundred dollars in the account, it is the only connection with the bank I have and yet....they are trying to upsell to me. Drives me nuts.

  10. Of all the banks out there Wells Fargo is my least favorite. Our IOBG account was at Wells Fargo. I hated doing business with them when I was the treasurer.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  11. I guess it's kind of like the USPS telling their clerks to throw out sheets of those 60-cents-apiece stamps instead of the regular 47 cent ones when a customer walks in and asks for a book of stamps.

  12. It's a pervasive culture of big banks, which most have become. I call them "New York banks." My bank eventually sold my mortgage to Countryside Bank, and the mortgage was paid off early in the great recession. I followed the balance like a hawk, sensing trouble, and stopped automatic withdrawal before the last payment, which would be much smaller than the automatic amount. Yes, there was a lot of trouble to get them to give me an actual amount to close and release my mortgage with the county. New York banks!

  13. Years ago I worked for a bank and the worst we did was give you a toaster or cake if you opened an account. Kinda miss those gentle days.

  14. Hi Cranky,

    Banks are the same everywhere. And I totally agree with you.




  15. I've written quite a few blog posts over the years about the unbelievable crap that banks have pulled on me. To this day, I am amazed at the personal questions asked every time I do anything (open, close an account, withdraw $). It's unreal.

  16. I think most banks are at least a little bit shady. I was so happy when I was able to start banking with a credit union. The day I went to close my accounts at Suntrust was a very good day for me.