Wells Fargo CEO Blames Low Level Employess For Massive Fraud
The level of greed and arrogance exhibited by the masters of the universe on Wall Street is always striking. But every so often they do or say something that still manages to totally shock you. In the wake of the massive fraud perpetrated at Wells Fargo, where customers were charged for services they neither wanted nor had signed up for, millions of bogus accounts were opened solely to line the pockets of the bank and its employees, and where over 5,000 people had to be fired, the CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf, actually came out and blamed the whole affair on a small number of lower level bank employees who did not “honor” the bank’s ethics and culture. He denied that there was any high-pressure sales environment and denied there were incentives to do “bad things”. Of course, the reason employees opened up these bogus accounts was primarily to receive sales bonuses.
Stumpf also neglected to take any management responsibility for the clear lack of controls within the bank that allowed this fraud to occur. And his inability to acknowledge any management involvement is frankly unbelievable. First, there was a Los Angeles Times expose in 2013 that detailed the pressure-cooker sales culture where employees who did not meet their quota were forced to stay late or even work weekends in order to meet their goals. The article went on to describe how “to meet quotas, employees have opened unneeded accounts for customers, ordered credit cards without customers’ permission and forged client signatures on paperwork.” If management was unaware of the problem before 2013, they certainly had no excuse afterward. As Elizabeth Warren said, “Come on…this went on for years and they didn’t smell anything in the air about fake accounts?”
The arrogance of this guy is just chilling and his denials simply defy credulity. These Wall Street CEOs manage to get paid millions of dollars but for what – whenever something goes wrong or a crime is committed, it is never their fault. It seems more like they are just like Mafia dons, those untouchable heads of criminal enterprises.