Workers Tell Wells Fargo Horror Stories
According to CNN’s news article, finance service provider Wells Fargo has forced its employees to exercise illegal activities, such as creating unauthorised bank accounts, between years 2011 and 2015. Former employees of the company tell they faced unbearable pressure to meet sales quotas and, in fact, more than 5,000 employees were fired in response to the scandal. Also, some decided to resign either because they found the firm’s practices so unethical or could not deal with the pressure they at work. The pressure grew so enormous that employees – sometimes encouraged by their managers – even opened checking accounts for their family and friends just to meet the required number of opened bank accounts per day. Bankers working for the company also opened new bank accounts for their existing clients without the clients’ permission.
Wells Fargo Urged to Resign Over Accounts Scandal
BBC News’ article discusses the video, where Senator Elizabeth Warren urges Wells Fargo chief executive John Stumpf to resign because of the scandal that his company is going through. However, Stumpf stresses that the company never intended to put pressure on its employees and that he, as a manager, would take whole responsibility of the company’s unethical sales practices. He also mentions, that the company would have abandoned its unethical practices sooner or later. Stumpf also promises that Wells Fargo will change its practices in the future and will make sure that the opened bank accounts are legal. The company will do so by sending confirmation emails to customers after opening a deposit account in their name.
I Called the Wells Fargo Ethics Line and Was Fired
Just like the two articles above, also this article of CNN News discusses the unethical practices of Wells Fargo and how the company ended up firing the workers, who were brave enough to talk about the company’s illegal activities. Some of the former Wells Fargo employees tried to put an end to their company’s activities by refusing from participating the creation of phony bank accounts and by informing the company’s human resources workers. However, the workers’ complains were not taken into consideration, but quite contrary, in retaliation for whistleblowing, many were fired with doubtful principles. For instance, a whistleblower could get fired if she/he arrived work just a few minutes late. According to the article, retaliation against whistleblowers and employees in general is strictly forbidden in the company. Still, some former employees of the company report they had been suppressed and even bullied at work – even without any whistleblowing involved.
Letter Warned Wells Fargo of “Widespread” Fraud in 2007
Even though the former CEO of Wells Fargo claims that he was not informed about the struggles with unethical sales behaviour in his company before 2013, there is a letter from year 2007 written by the company’s former employee, which proves otherwise. In the letter, the former employee wrote about Wells Fargo’s widespread unethical sales practices and fraud in the company’s Northern California branch. The writer of the letter, who stays unknown, sued Wells Fargo and even won the case.
Despite the fact, that the letter was sent there is no proof if Stumpf, the company’s former CEO, had received it or not. Still, the letter and testimony from other employees arise a question, whether Wells Fargo had practiced its illegal sales policies even longer that the company has admitted.
Most Feared Wall Street Prosecutor Warns Bankers Against Silence
The scandal of Wells Fargo, where the company’s employees had been suppressed to create millions of unauthorised bank and credit accounts without their customers knowing it, has triggered a series of events where some powerful opinion leaders have stood against companies’ unethical behaviour. One of those people is Preet Bharara, an attorney from New York, who stresses that banking companies should built their companies on the base of honesty, integrity and transparency, and that these three ought to be the framework for other practices in any company.
According to Bharara, there are three risks that white collar criminal firms might face: a culture of minimalism, a culture of formalism and a culture of silence. The first one, meaning when a company only aims for the minimum, often has disastrous consequences. The latter of the three practices – silence – is still the most lethal one. In other words, the company should create a safe environment for its employees, where their thoughts and concerns are heard and taken into consideration.