Why I am Closing my Wells Fargo Account

Photo from Forbes.com.

Photo from Forbes.com.

Mari Boyle, Opinion Editor

On September 20, the CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf sat in front of the Senate Banking Committee and apologized for the scam that took thousands, if not millions, of dollars from its customers that took place over the course of at least four years.

“You should give back the money that you took.” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said to Stumpf.

The fraudulent practices of Wells Fargo employees were the result of “unrealistic sales goals” which include selling eight financial products per customer. Employees said that not meeting these goals would result in the loss of a job.

To satisfy these demands, employees created around two million fake accounts using the names and money of existing customers without their permission.

Wells Fargo will be paying a $185 million fine and over 5,000 Wells Fargo employees were fired. However, Carrie Tolstedt, a Wells Fargo executive who oversaw the branches responsible for the scam, is retiring and receiving $124.6 million, and Stumpf will remain CEO and is not taking a cut in his salary.

Senator Warren, who has made protecting the middle class a large part of her congressional career, gave a compelling speech during the hearing.

“You squeezed your employees to the breaking point so they would cheat customers and you could drive up the value of your stock and put hundreds of millions of dollars in your own pocket,” Warren said to Stumpf. “And when it all blew up, you kept your job, you kept your multi-million-dollar bonuses and you went on television to blame thousands of $12-an-hour employees. Wall Street executives almost never hold themselves accountable. Not now, and not in 2008, when they crushed the worldwide economy.”

“The only way that Wall Street will change is if executives face jail time when they preside over massive frauds,” Warren continued. “Until then, it will be business as usual, and at giant banks like Wells Fargo, that seems to mean cheating as many customers, investors and employees as they possibly can.”

I will be closing my Wells Fargo account as soon as I can. Not because I think that this scam will continue to occur, after this ordeal I think Wells Fargo will avoid illegal practices such as these. I am closing my Wells Fargo account to send a message to these large financial institutions that commit crimes and walk away with a fine that is insignificant to them.

My message to big banks, as they are often referred to, is this: you will not make large profits at the expense of the middle class and keep my business.