Wells Fargo scam explained – ELI5

by Mixairian – Sep. 11th, 2016


Bankers get a commission (extra money,) for certain actions. These usually invoice opening accounts. The more accounts you open, the more money you get. Commission is a bonus. It’s not a requirement for your base salary. Many banks create a quota of sales that they expect their bankers to hit. When accounts are opened with certain products(direct deposit, online banking, etc) is profitable for the bank.

Wells Fargo had an environment, where if your bankers were not making enough commission, they were reprimanded. Every location has a limited amount of customers. The quotas at Wells Fargo were much higher than achievable. This is a tactic for any sales force to raise the bar higher to get your team to perform harder. Unfortunately the quotas were so high, and the pressure on the employees was equally high, many resorts to illegal actions to achieve those goals.

Bankers opened accounts without the owners permission. Credit cards, checking, savings, online banking, bill pay. They would transfer money around to these accounts, simulate the activity that would get them paid, and transfer it back. The banker hits their numbers, three bank looks profitable, no one thinks about it. This goes on for years, and customers are asking about credit cards/accounts they never applied for.

Keep in mind, when we say bankers, we mean regular employees who make 25k-35k a year before commission.

This type of stuff isn’t uncommon, but such a drastic beach across the board showes that when you create a highly pressured incentive based system, and punish those who perform poorly, you’ll create a corrupt system. There was no one looking to see if these dates were legitimate, they only cared that numbers were met.

  by bigtall – Sep. 11th, 2016

I am a banker (salesperson). You are an existing customer. My job is to sell you more products than you currently have. The accounts you already have open don’t do anything for me, I get no credit for maintaining your account as it is.

So I position our new accounts as alternate accounts: don’t shop online with your main checking account, it might get hacked. Open this extra checking account and simply transfer money into it when you want to shop online and make purchases from that. Wow! Your employer has a corporate perk you’re entitled to if you open a business account. No, I can’t convert your account (I can), you’ll have to create a brand new account. You’ll need a debit card, a savings account and online access, it’s a package. Eventually you may want to close your old account as the new one will start to be the one you use more often. I’ll even help you set up a $25 transfer from the new savings account to the new checking account (and then back to the savings) to simulate ‘activity’ to keep you from being charged service fees.

Oh, you’ve got a business/commercial account? How many authorized signers do you have on the account? They’ll each be getting a commercial debit card. They’ll all be sent to you, you don’t have to give them to the individuals, you can destroy them if you’d like. Each of the “new” accounts, or debit cards, or services were all notches towards a daily goal to “sell” new products.
More often than not, the customer was told what was happening, but they were deceived into believing it had to be that way. It wasn’t until fees popped up or spouses/parents questioned duplicate accounts and services that it was addressed.

Source: I was a Personal Banker 1 (salesperson) from 2011-2012, watched it happen, reported it to HR, didn’t do any of it and stuck to my morals. Walked out when I got a new job. It was truly the worst job I’ve ever had. Shame of it all was it was good people doing bad things just so they could keep a job.

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