High pressure, low wages still plague Wells Fargo culture, employees say

by Ryan Smith07 Jan 2019

After being rocked by repeated scandals, Wells Fargo spent most of 2018 insisting to shareholders and customers that it had changed its ways. Some employees of the banking giant, however, are disputing that contention.

In late 2016, it was revealed that Wells Fargo employees, under crushing pressure to hit unrealistic sales targets, had opened millions of unauthorized customer accounts. Following investigations, resignations, more than $1.7 billion in fines – and a slew of other scandals – the bank launched a charm offensive to convince customers that it was mending its ways.

Wells Fargo employees, however, painted a different picture in a report by The Guardian.

“It doesn’t feel like they’ve changed much of anything, to be honest,” mortgage employee Meggan Halvorson told the paper. “(New policies) put in place don’t seem to be doing much of anything, and we still hear complaints from customers.”

Halvorson said that many of the bank’s customer-facing employees – who felt scapegoated by management during the scandal – are still being mistreated, and still under pressure from management to hit bonus goals. That is, the employees who are still there; last year, the bank announced plans to slash up to 26,000 jobs. It also reportedly outsourced hundreds of mortgage jobs to overseas call centers.

“There’s no real respect for people’s work-life balance,” she told The Guardian. “The overwhelming thing you hear from management is, ‘Just be thankful you have a job.’”

Meanwhile, the bank’s controversial CEO, Tim Sloan, received a $4.6 million raise in June, bringing his total annual compensation to $17.6 million. The minimum wage for Wells Fargo employees is $15 per hour, The Guardian reported – 564 times smaller than Sloan’s annual paycheck.

“In a lot of our cities right now, $15 an hour isn’t an adequate wage for people to live on,” Wells Fargo bankruptcy specialist Alex Ross told the paper.

Ross said he currently made a little over $15 an hour, but still had to work a second job to pay his bills.

“When we’re working for a bank that’s one of the largest financial institutions in the country, there’s no reason anybody working for an institution of that size shouldn’t be able to rely on that income to keep a roof over their head,” he said.