An Open Letter to Wells Fargo

To Whom It May Concern:

I opened a checking and a savings account with Wells Fargo in 2007. By the end of this month, I will have closed both. If there is any doubt as to my motives, I will outline them below:

  • Wells Fargo committed fraud. Wells Fargo opened approximately 2.1 million accounts without their customers’ knowledge. Wells Fargo may have committed additional fraud in its Brokerage Business.
  • Wells Fargo employees felt compelled by policies dictated by CEO John Stumpf and others at the highest levels of management to open the 2.1 million accounts, out of fear that they may lose their jobs.
  • Wells Fargo fired 5,300 of its own employees for “engaging in Improper Sales Practices.”
  • Wells Fargo awarded Stump made $161 million between 2011 and 2015 in bonuses and performance awards while the fraud occurred.

When I leave Wells Fargo for good, I will only have the inconvenience of closing two accounts, not eight. And while I am relieved that Wells Fargo did not open accounts without my express knowledge and consent, I am nevertheless outraged. Outraged that my savings and checking accounts formed a portion of Wells Fargo’s bottom line and a bonus check to CEO Stumpf. Outraged that those fired were not those who formulated these reprehensible practices, but rather those who felt compelled to carry them out.

Admittedly, my net worth is relatively small and therefore largely insignificant to your day-to-day operations. As such, my departure from your bank will not matter. Nevertheless, it matters to me.

It matters because by withdrawing my money, I will not aid and abet Wells Fargo’s attempts to resurrect its image by paying for an expensive PR firm. By withdrawing my money, I want Wells Fargo to acknowledge that its actions – as well as its banking and fraud policies – affect peoples’ lives in a very direct and real way. And by withdrawing my money, I want to encourage Wells Fargo customers to do the same, for together we can make a difference.


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