Calling All Wells Fargo Whistleblowers!

Established readers may know that we published an extensive series in 2013 documenting pervasive abuses by Bank of America and PNC how they ran the Independent Foreclosure Review. That program was mandated by the OCC and Fed to require banks to investigate foreclosure abuses in 2009 and 2010 and compensate wronged homeowners.

The nine whistleblowers that we ultimately interviewed, starting with a single source who contacted the site, included extensive internal documents, as well as an economic model the scale and cost of the reviews, and an estimate of how much the consultant that was papering over the abuses at Bank of America earned from the exercise.

We were told by Congressional insiders that this account was so definitive that no one in the press or among the regulators, dared to defend the foreclosure reviews after that.

Given how much Congressional and media interest there deservedly is in the Wells Fargo scandal, we are very unlikely to play a similar role. However, our series of post does demonstrate that we can connect the dots and do original analysis in a way that is outside the purview of traditional media, and that in turn can advance the exposure of misconduct, not just of the immediate perps but that of other forms of outside enablers.

We had a reader contact us in the comments section of a recent Wells post alleging that they saw misconduct first hand:

I am a former Wells Fargo Bank employee who was never promoted because I refuse to do what it took to meet my goals. I was a lead teller for 4 years trained many tellers who went on to be other things within the bank because they sold bogus or unnecessary products to clients. Many of the tellers that went on to do other things I went head to head in interviews but was told I wasn’t qualified (because my numbers didn’t meet protocol). My final straw was when a teller that I trained (who had no prior banking experience) and I applied for a job as a service manager they chose the other less experienced person over me. The person they hired would come to me asking me how to do this that and the other. I refused to train a person whom I would have to report to a lead teller. I am wondering how and IF I should look into this class action lawsuit. I missed out of wages and opportunities because of the bogus sales ethics.

Anyone who knows retail banking will likely regard it as unheard to have a teller claim that they were involved in pushing Wells products. That’s not what tellers are normally asked to do. Yet by happenstance, a regular reader had sent along this tidbit by e-mail in late September:

Just FYI…I’ve worked for WF since XXXX (but on the technology side since XXXX). However, when my previous bank (First Security) was bought up, the tellers were stunned to learn they were going to have to sell products. The pressure has been there for years and years. I am so not surprised to learn about this.

So if you worked at Wells and saw bad conduct first hand, particularly retaliation against whistleblowers or employees who otherwise objected to unreasonable sales targets or bad practices, please let us know about it. The most valuable sort of information is documents, such as manuals and internal memos.

There are two ways to contact us. If you are ex-Wells, you can use the comments section and provide your e-mail address so we can follow up. If you are currently at Wells, have records, or are concerned about your confidentiality, you can e-mail me at Be sure to write “Wells Fargo whistleblower” in the subject line.

And to reassure you: New York has very strong shield laws protecting journalists’ sources and courts have found bloggers sources to be entitled to the same level of protection.

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  1. rhcaldwell

    Newest security-state internet surveillance selector: “Wells Fargo whistleblower”. Wouldn’t it be great if we had secure email? I wonder why we don’t?… Could it be because it’s so much easier to keep an eye on what the peeps are up to under our current system?

  2. craazyman

    I joke around a lot in the peanut gallery . . . but seriously:

    Huge props and kudos to the impressive, incredibly important work that NC does on these kinds of things.

    Just reading about it makes me feel good. Of course, there’s no way in hell I could do it myself. I wouldn’t even know where to start. But I’m glad somebody else does!

  3. diptherio


    New York has very strong shieldlaws protecting journalists’ sources

    As Ani Difranco once said, “we tune because we care.” :-)

    I’ve got a friend who had Wells make up a student loan out of whole-cloth after they bought out his bank in Philly, and then start demanding late fees and penalties for failing to make payments, ending with them “levying” his account…twice (i.e. the just took all the money out of it). If any employees ever witnessed this sort of thing going on, it would be great to know about it.

    Is there a class-action suit for customer-victims too?

  4. RW

    Yves, I’m so glad you’re continuing to shed light into the doings (criminal?) of WFC. Thank you for helping whistleblowers and other insiders from WFC share their insights and hopefully evidence. I admire your drive and the rare, strong journalism you practice.

  5. OrangeCat

    I hesitate to enter the public forum but….I had awful experiences with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (WFHM) and with a retail bank branch. The very abridged versions:

    My father passed away a few years ago and had a mortgage with Wells. There was a several thousand dollar overage in the escrow account after we sold the house. My name was also on the title to the house, but not on the mortgage.

    Wells steadfastly refused to release this overage and employed a variety of tactics to delay doing so. They hoped we would go away, no doubt. I filed claims with the CFPB twice. I also involved the City Attorney of LA, which has a dispute resolution branch, and which had just started investigating Wells in 2013. Dispute resolution had reps with direct phone numbers to management inside the bank. They actually got on conference calls with me to speak with WFHM. Even this was not enough to get the money refunded.

    I wondered if it was the bank’s intention to wear me down, drag the process out, and ask for more and more documentation until I just give up. During this lengthy process, I was lied to (constant story changing) at every level by the bank staff. At their request we provided WFHM: 1) letter explaining constructive trust, 2) original death certificates, 3) durable power of attorney, 4) a full copy of my father’s lengthy big-law will, designating me as administrator, 4) Warranty deed to the house showing me as owner, 5) phone calls from our large, high-profile attorney firm and from my siblings. They next stated they wanted a court-certified version of the will.

    After many, many, many months and CFPB involvement, WFHM issued checks written so they couldn’t be cashed, per my other bank with a regular nice-guy branch manager. After more debates they finally issued a check which, even though odd in form, my regular bank’s legal department and manager decided they would deposit.

    Wells branch bank experience: after the above I went to close a moderate five-figure savings account. Teller directed me to personal banker who gave me a run-around and argument against closing. I was ready to call police; my partner talked me down to avoid a scene. I went to another branch and eventually got the account closed.

    I kept all the names and phone numbers.

    1. savedbyirony

      “I was ready to call the police”, ain’t it the truth. And if the cops showed up and tasered the suited crook to the floor, i think people in general would applaud, though the “news at five” would never report it that way.

      (In an aside, my mother lives in a nursing home run by Saber Healthcare, which has a class action lawsuit against it at present for intentionally and chronically under-staffing their facilities. I can attest that such is the case in the residency she lives in, and have often wondered what would happen if i were to call the cops when they are NOT providing a “safe environment in which call lights are answered in timely fashion” and older people are literally paying thousands of dollars a month to be physically endangered and at times emotionally mistreated. Ombudsman i have called; the state health department has been informed; but what i want is proper staffing AND the HR administrator charged for elderly abuse.)

    2. YankeeFrank

      Just be careful that you don’t become the target of the police’s “attentions” instead of the aggrieved party. Just because you’re the one that called them doesn’t mean you’re the one they will protect.

  6. keepon

    You are “Truth to Power” Yves & Co. Ever grateful for all you’ve done re: foreclosure hokum. You really went in their face!

    I check in here several times a day to re-read and learn from your level headed, sooo knowledgable commenters.

    Puh-leeze start up a news agency to replace the “bought” MSM? I’m begging. We have no place remaining that will tell us what the real meaning of ‘is is.’

    Ever grateful-

  7. reslez

    Sales targets for tellers turn routine bank visits into hair-crawling experiences. For a while I kept a reasonably large balance in my checking account at a regional bank (I was saving up for a large purchase). After multiple interactions with tellers who saw the balance and tried to push various products on me, I shipped it all to an online credit union. Why would I want someone making $12/hr asking probing questions about what I intend to do with my balance and would I like to open a brokerage account? I mean, bless them for trying to earn a living but it’s none of their GD business. Plus, being pushed into something immediately makes me suspect it’s crammed with awful fees.

  8. robwis

    Bravo. These whistleblowers are vitally needed to dispel the climate of fear and intimidation operating in a major US corporation.
    And how about adding a second category: those who have personally experienced Wells’ antics in the courtroom? ( As for our case, the foreclosure was dismissed with prejudice, I have the documentation, and I’m not bound by silence from a settlement.) A large number of personal courtroom stories could do wonders to peel back the company’s legal and PR curtain.
    A great template: Holm vs. Wells Fargo–“deceit”, “reprehensible” conduct”.
    Calling all those who fought Wells in court!

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