Executive, Finance, HR - US Banker Banned For Life
The former CEO of the US bank Wells Fargo has agreed to a lifetime ban from ever working at a bank again and to pay millions of dollars in fines for his role in scandals in which millions of fake accounts were set up to meet sales quotas.
The US Treasury Department Office of the Comptroller of the Currency hit John G. Stumpf with US$17.5 Million in fines, the largest in the agency's history. Stumpf oversaw a set of unrealistic sales goals that forced employees to lie, cheat, and steal to meet their quotas or lose their jobs. They opened millions of fake bank and credit card accounts in the names of customers, who were wrongly charged maintenance fees. Wells Fargo ultimately was forced to admit that it pressured borrowers to pay for auto insurance they didn't need, and the ones that couldn't keep up with the payments lost their cars to repossession. The bank also admitted to illegally repossessing the vehicles of hundreds of service members.
"The misconduct of these individuals allowed the practices to continue for years, affecting millions of bank customers and thousands of lower level bank employees," the OCC said in a statement.
The pressure on workers was so bad that one veteran of the 1991 Gulf War wrote to Stumpf to say his time in combat was less stressful than working at Wells Fargo. Workers at at one branch said they had been threatened to meet their targets or they would be “"transferred to a store where someone had been shot and killed". Ultimately, the bank fired 8,000 workers for allegedly subpar sales records from 2011 through 2016.
The OCC said Wells Fargo "had better tools and systems to detect employees who did not meet unreasonable sales goals than it did to catch employees who engaged in sales practices misconduct".