At Wells Fargo, why is it so difficult to change a toxic sales culture?

DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL - Every day we learn more about how Wells Fargo & Co. violated the trust of its customers through unethical sales practices. If you can’t trust your bank, who can you trust?

In a Sept. 8 press release about the Wells Fargo scandal, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau stated, “Spurred by sales targets and compensation incentives, employees boosted sales figures by covertly opening accounts and funding them by transferring funds from consumers’ authorized accounts without their knowledge or consent, often racking up fees or other charges. According to the bank … employees opened more than two million deposit and credit card accounts that may not have been authorized by consumers.”

Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) has been fined $185 million and ordered to reimburse customers $5 million in fees they were charged due to these unethical practices.

A Wall Street Journal article by Emily Glazer on Sept. 16 is headlined, “How Wells Fargo’s high-pressure sales culture spiraled out of control.” The article is sub-headlined, “Hourly targets, fear of being fired and bonuses kept employees selling even when the bank began cracking down on abuses.”

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