Outrage is bursting out all over at Wells Fargo

Imagine a horrific moment when you discover that someone opened up a traditional credit card under your name. You immediately enter panic mode. Your heart is racing as you phone all three credit reporting agencies to freeze your accounts so that the bloodletting ceases. You file fraud reports. Your mind races to moments that perhaps your identity was stolen. After all that, you open up the morning newspaper to find out that your own banking institution opened up the credit card under your name without your consent. You then say to yourself, "Now I've seen it all!"

Maybe no one went through a scenario that I just described, but certainly some folks out there experienced some of that drama as Wells Fargo bank customers. Apparently thousands of WF employees opened up credit cards and other financial products under customers' names without their consent. Why would a bank do such a thing? From what some describe, there was an incentive culture over at WF that rewarded employees who opened up the most accounts over time.
Indeed there's nothing wrong with an incentive program for employees, but that's not an excuse for committing this type of internal fraud. The rub here is that there had to be knowledge within ranks that these practices were ongoing with no end in sight -- until this week in early September 2016. It is puzzling how people can get so wrapped up in an incentive program that they will do anything to get their rewards. In this case, the ultimate end for them justified the means.

As the late 1970s Ace song goes, "How long has this been going on?" Hmm, I think that song came to mind with me in some of these other blog posts. By the way, Ace is still probably making a fortune off that one song nearly 40 years later. According to papers the practices date back to 2011. At this moment, 1.5 million accounts affected with nearly 600,000 credit cards opened without the customers' knowledge.

As expected, the outrage is flooding the culture with many saying that you cannot trust the traditional banks. Is this incident indicative of the big banks or is it just an anomaly? While this nation's banks are not nearly as corrupt as some other countries' financial institutions, it's still a bit disconcerting in this age of hacking conspiracies. Another question that many are asking: Will WF those now former-employees, supervisors and higher echelon executives face the judicial system or will everyone involved walk away scot-free? So far WF is facing big fines, but does the story end there? As "they" say, "only time will tell."


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