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A Bad Business Culture Is Bad:  Ask Wells Fargo

Between 2000 and 2016, Wells Fargo continually reinforced a business culture to sell more and more products to existing customers, termed cross-selling.  The term cross-sell appeared 20 times in the company’s 2015 Annual Report.  This business culture eventually (in the Fall 2016) spiraled out of control.  Federal investigators reported in September 2016 that Wells Fargo had opened as many as two million deposit and credit-car accounts without customers requesting or knowing of the actions.  The cross-selling problem was reported to be systemic across all the company’s 6,000 branches and all its products.  A spokeswoman at Wells Fargo responded to the fiasco saying “We are committed to fixing this issue, to strengthening our culture throughout the company and taking the necessary actions to begin restoring our customer’s trust.”  Steven Schrodt worked at Wells Fargo from 2010 to 2012 and reported that employees at his branch had a daily goal to open two new checking accounts and make eight other product sales; Steven left the company because the sales pressure was too stressful.

 

Source:  Emily Glazer, “Wells Fargo Tripped By Its Sales Culture,” Wall Street Journal, September 17, 1016, A1 & A8.

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