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Any Wells Fargo account holders here ?

WSJ : Front page headline, Wells Fargo fined for sales scam.

Pg a5 : Full page Wells Fargo, we'll make everything better now that we got caught

I'm wondering how many account holders will be leaving ?

Have a good weekend,


  • I sold early today at a decent price.
  • Mitchelg said:

    I sold early today at a decent price.

    You mean you sold WFC the stock?

    I think the question was if anyone has accounts with WFC. Either way, like I said in Ted's post...
  • Anyone really expect the Big Banks, along with Big Business in general, to actually police themselves? Banks are like cars: a necessary evil. Only worse. And Wells Fargo is lower than whale feces, at the bottom of the ocean.
  • One can vote with one's feet, or one can vote. How many people are going to drop their index funds?

    After Berkshire Hathaway, the largest holder of WFC is Vanguard. The same Vanguard that (along with Blackrock, the 5th largest holder) has a 97% record of supporting CEO pay. I'm sure Stumpf is very happy. According to The Nation article over the past three years he was compensated almost as much as the fine WF had to pay.

    See my post here:

    For its latest vote, see the WFC ballot just last April. Vanguard voted in favor of Item 2 - Advisory Resolution to Approve Executive Compensation. Specifically, it voted to approve "2015 compensation decisions and policies for [Wells Fargo's] named executives."

    Those executives included
    • John G. Stumpf, Chairman & CEO
    • Timothy J. Sloan, President & COO
    • four Sr. Exec VPs
    Vanguard also voted against a resolution that would have required the chairman to be an independent board member. I guess Vanguard felt that only an insider could do a good job as chairman of representing shareholder interests.

    I have a fair amount invested with Vanguard. At this point I am looking seriously at moving those investments elsewhere.

    Vanguard votes fund by fund:

    VFINX proxy votes:
  • i've got one third of my assets at wells. guess i'll start the process to move everything to fidelity today.
  • edited September 2016
    One cannot fault Vanguard for holding WFC through its index funds. If Vanguard is holding WFC in its active funds, managers should take care of it.

    However, we may be having the wrong argument. I'm saying INDIVIDUALS have to take responsibility. Manager at Vanguard is an individual. If he is not able to convince his active peers to eliminate WFC from their portfolio, then the only stand he can take is look for another job and leave. If so, he has done all that he could in my opinion. Because he would have done that compromising his life, family etc.

    However, AGAIN that may be having wrong argument. I want to hear from Account holders and individual investors in WFC, what excuse they have to keep associating themselves with WFC. If they do, then they deserve Donald Trump to be their President.

    Let's make sure we don't carried away incorrectly. We should not be looking to punish Vanguard. We should be looking to influence Vanguard. Only WFC needs to be punished.
  • msf
    edited September 2016
    I am not faulting Vanguard for holding WFC. I am faulting Vanguard for its unwavering support of WFC management; yea verily for ratifying huge compensation packages. Heckuva job, Brownie, um, Stumpf.

    Vanguard's explanation for its near perfect record of support for management is that it works with companies behind the scenes in the interest of investors. So let's take that at face value.

    Over 5300 employees of Wells Fargo knew what was going on. Working directly with Wells Fargo in the interest of investors, Vanguard either did know or should have known about a practice so widespread. Yet it explicitly approved of the way Wells Fargo was being run by taking the step of affirming rewards to those responsible.

    You want to own an index fund holding WFC? Fine. Pick a manager that shows an iota of concern that companies it owns are at least barely following the law. Vanguard isn't the only game in town these days when it comes to cheap index funds.

    WFC should indeed be punished. It is up to its owners, meaning Vanguard and others, to hold it accountable. And it is up to Vanguard's owners in turn to hold it accountable for its lapses.

    What is your proposal for influencing Vanguard?
  • I'm a WFC bank/brokerage client. Have been for about 10 years.
    I've no intention of leaving over this matter. I find that very notion slightly amusing.

    Some perspective:

    Corporate malfeasance is everywhere. Corp management -- NO corp management -- is composed of angels. Often, perhaps usually, it takes real SOBs, many of whom are borderline sociopaths, to claw their way to the C-suites of large organizations. So of course, 'dirty business' infiltrates corporate operations, simply by osmosis. If Joseph Stalin had been born in 1970s America, he'd probably be the CEO of a Fortune 100 company right now. Maybe Uber or Facebook.

    In WFC's case the malfeasance was big enough to catch the govt's attention.

    As for 'punishing WFC'. There I agree with you. But WFC has been 'punished' -- its been fined, by the govt -- which is entity tasked with punishing wrong-doing. Should one/more WFC executives' heads roll (figuratively). Probably yes. But that decision is made by the relevant regulatory agencies. They've made their decision. I tend to believe US regulators are gutless creatures, controlled by the industries they are supposed to regulate. But that is a pervasive problem. --- How many bankers went to jail for their role in almost destroying the Western financial system in 08/09. Answer: none that I am aware of. They all got their bonuses and/or obscene retirement packages. I assume that 'Mr. Orange' (Angelo Mozilo) is nursing his tan, on some lovely Caribbean beach.

    Think about it: No senior bank executives were jailed for the mortgage mess. HRC grossly mishandled classified govt emails. If you or I had done what she did, we would be in jail. And O.J. got away with murder.

    There are laws. And there are the elites for whom the laws do not apply. Senior bank (and other sr. corp officers) are such people.

  • Edmond: From your respond, I take for granted that you checked your accounts & noticed no extra fees or charges. I'm with msf on this one. You can vote with your feet.
  • We used to accounts with another large US bank, Bank of America. They sent us all sort of debit cards, but we prefer credit cards. When BOA tried to charge us late fee (20% interest) on our monthly credit card bill while it was paid electronically 4-5 days before the due date, we argued and BOA back down. This happened several times over the course of a year, and we had enough with that sort of business practice. Guess WF is not far behind. In less than one year, we left BOA and bank with a local credit union affiliated with a university. Life has been good ever since. Never had the same credit card problem and the service is even better. My lesson is that you don't need these big banks and their brokerages. There are much better options and you can vote with your feet.
  • Sven: I just read in WSJ where BOA settled with advisor's group for several millions!
    Looks like you made the right choice.
  • @Derf: My banking relationship has soured when the lending service was combined with investment service as a consequence of repeal of the Glass–Steagall. The profit from serving small depositors is very small relative to the hefty fees generated from investment banking side. To make the year-end goal and quarterly earning, who do you think they will serve better?

    I have always like credit union better since the college days. Credit unions tend to locally operated and have fewer ATMs. We change our banking habit accordingly. We use credit union's Visa or Masters credit cards when we travel abroad and never miss a beat that we used to enjoy banking with large banks.
  • @Sven - Personal question. We're contemplating some international travel in the next year. I asked my (otherwise excellent) Visa card provider if the card would work in Europe. Was told we would need a "pin" and than it would work. Seemed odd. Don't care for cards with pins either as would prefer to use as charge card. Well, we now have the pin. But wondered if the bank was just trying to get us to take a PIN number or whether you really are better off having a PIN number when outside the U.S.
  • edited September 2016
    @Sven- Yes, you are quite correct with respect to BofA. In actuality though, Wells Fargo is just as bad. Folks here on MFO tend to badmouth the type of financial advisers who peddle loaded funds, such as American Funds. But I'll tell you this: we originally got started in mutual fund investing with American Funds through such an adviser.

    Now this was MANY years ago: At the time, he told us that he had previously accepted a job with Wells Fargo as an "account executive", and had been sent to their in-house training and familiarization group. When he was informed of the expected sales practice, which involved selling high-profit Wells funds to any Wells Fargo customer, appropriate or not, he quit on the spot.

    Nothing at all new going on here... just more of the same old.
  • My Corvette is financed through Wells Fargo. If they go bankrupt, will my Vette be debt-free? (haha)
  • Unfortunately Wells Fargo took over our Wachovia accounts and things went downhill from there. What can you expect from a bank that call their branches "stores" I do get 100 free trades per year to include transaction fee MF's so I will keep it. Bluntly no bank or insurance company is your friend.Each has its perils. Like restaurants. For most ,if you knew what went on in the kitchen you would want to cook all meals at home. Because of all the malfeasance and for many other reasons I keep 3 bank accounts,2 credit union accounts and 4 MF and brokerage accounts. If hanky panky goes on in any account, I have several others as backup and available funds. The minimal extra paperwork is worth the peace of mind.
  • A Federal Credit Union, for the most part, is the only bank I deal with. It's worked out great for 40+ years.
  • we have had several accounts at WFC for 5 or more years and have been relatively satisfied. The people are friendly branches convenient and if you have to use a big corporation they are better than our previous banks.

    People's United lost a computer tape with all my personal info unencrypted starting the first of ( at last count) six seriously possible identity thefts ( I started at Peoples because I thought a "mutual " bank would be better... soon they converted to stock company paying CEO massive bucks for doing little but shopping the firm)

    WFC has significant issues... One manager told us we could write unlimited checks from the savings money market but we got hit with a $15 fee. they refunded it when I complained to another manager who "couldn't understand why he told you that"

    The worse issue has been a $30 maintenance fee that started showing up monthly on one of our accounts. It took several visits and a threat to pull our accounts out before they discontinued it and refunded the money. We are not minor holders as between my mother and I we have close to a 6 digit balances

    I guess my message is all of 21st Capitalism is corrupt and will screw us if they can get away with it. You need to decide if your personal situation justifies moving to another provider. ( Having just moved to Vanguard, I am struggling with their low cost culture but not sure I want to pay for more services at Schwab for example)

    The real question is "what will Warren do" His quote about the permanent loss of reputation is germane and making the rounds today, but i doubt that he will take the tax hit and sell WFC... Since I own a large chunk of BRK.B I hope he makes his displeasure known to the WFC CEO and tells the board to can the bastard. The Buck has to stop somewhere

  • I fired WFC years ago for fees they were charging on my fee free account. Charles Schwab bank has my business now.

    Credit unions and small banks are worth looking into provided you perform due diligence. Also, some brokerages provide banking type services.
  • Anyone remember WF's five minute max promotion? It was so absurd for them to offer $5 if it took you more than five minutes to get to a teller in line. For the heck of it, I went to an urban branch in a not affluent section of the city. After 15 minutes, I just gave up waiting. (If you didn't get to a teller, they didn't credit you $5.)

    More significant - when we first tried to open an account years ago, WF refused because it said we were lying about one of our SSNs. They said that a customer had that number. You would think that if someone came in (presenting solid ID) and said they had an SSN that happened to be the same as one of its customers', a bank would be concerned that just maybe its data wasn't correct.

    Not WF. If we didn't prove our number, not only would they not open the account, they wouldn't check their own data. Of course they were wrong. It turned out that they had been sending out tax forms on someone's mortgage with the wrong SSN for three years. They didn't care.

    Not that any large bank is significantly different. These days, aside from keeping a min balance checking account at a neighborhood bank so that I qualify for a safe deposit box, I don't deal with banks at all. I use my brokerage account for checking, bill pay, ATM access. Well I suppose I'm dealing with banks for credit cards, but as far as that's concerned, it seems like a whole 'nuther industry to me that just happens to be run by banks.
  • @Derf, Your Visa card provider is corrected for your protection. Only last year all Visa and Master cards finally switched from magnetic tape based to chip-based. In the meantime, my old credit card was compromised at Target. Europe and Japan have made the changes a number years ago. I have not used the new cards outside US, so I would google around to ascertain the proper usage. I think you get to pick the PIN number and it would serve as two-level authentication when you use the card.

    Credit card usage is great for convenience and getting better exchange rates than those at the banks. We still carry some local currency, but we travel now using mostly our credit cards.
  • Sven: Your last rely was intended for hank I believe.

    Let me add to this discussion at this time . How many employees did they let go, 5600 or 5800 ? After opening 565,000 new credit card account to customers who may not have wanted them the question comes as to is going to be available to make right these accounts ?
  • Derf, You are correct - my reply was for Hank.

    Systemic practice as such has to come from the top. Guess who is getting the big bonus?
  • edited September 2016
    Thanks for the reply Sven. Was just curious because sounded like you travel abroad quite a bit and use your cards.

    Re: Wells Fargo. I find it amusing they were the ones who picked up (and rebranded) the defunct Strong Funds. Maybe some of the slime rubbed off?

    There's an old adage about "He that lieth down with dogs ...
  • @Hank, we live in Pacific Nothwest, so British Columbia is one of our favorite place to visit. Vancourer has all metropolitan attractions to offer (kids friendly), beautiful landscape, and diverse culture and food. US dollar is strong relative to Candian dollar; 1 USD to 1.29 CAD. Europe is expensive and you can have similar experience in Montreal.

    Yes, I remember the Strong funds and they still left a bad taste in my mouth. So I will stay with T. Rowe Price, Vanguard, and Fidelity for our taxable and retirement investing.
  • msf said:

    What is your proposal for influencing Vanguard?

    Each of us need to do what we can in our circle of influence. I cannot influence Vanguard since I'm a piddly little investor. Those "Admiral" shareholders. What are they doing?

    Vanguard touts itself as a company owned by its shareholders. So allegedly they may be thinking supporting WFC would improve its stock price and therefore benefit Vanguard Shareholders. High net worth individuals who own assets at Vanguard can influence Vanguard. That is is Vanguard is truly owned by its shareholders.

    Individual investors can close out their Wells Fargo accounts. This is not like I have option of only one Electric Utility Company and in my neighborhood I only have Chevron gas stations. Individuals have option of other banks. Take it. If we can't do that much, then societal collapse is coming.

    WFC can keep paying the same fine every year and as long as the stock keeps going up no one will care. No one is going to bring criminal proceedings against Wells Fargo. A banks collateral is it assets. Pull them out, people!
  • edited September 2016
    @Edmond. You say WFC has been punished? How? By the fine? How is "having to fire" 5300 people punishing Wells Fargo? And that is because "it came to light" - not because WFC brought it to light. If it hadn't come to light then when it eventually did maybe 10000 people would have been fired at the expense of shareholders. And again, "it would have come to light" because of the CFPB, and not because Wells Fargo had a conscience.

    Did you see how much its stock price moved after the firing? If clients such as yourself will not quit Wells Fargo, then it cannot be punished.

    I'm very sorry you find the notion amusing. Sorry, but I wonder if it is inertia. Like I know I hate my cable service provider but I'm too bothered to do anything about it. I just don't know if I will apply the same yardstick of judgement to company I trust my finances with. In a democracy people have choices. Saying no mortgage executive went to jail has nothing to do with Wells Fargo now.

    I moved my big bank account to Credit Union after the financial crisis. I did my bit. I hope others do theirs. Else they are part of the problem and not part of the solution. When a food processing company knowingly puts crap in their food and then get fined, what do we say? They have been punished? Let's keep eating their food since now after they have been punished there will not be any crap in what they sell?

    Do we want to prevent the next food company who will allow crap to go into their food or not? Do we want to stop the next bank from fleecing their account holders or not? Are we going to go to message boards and rant and wail or defend Wells Fargo, or do we want to do something about it.

    I am not standing for any election, here. Just crushed by the degeneration of our collective brains in how we think. I know I can't do anything by myself. If others don't want to do anything, then fine. Can I at least ask, they don't say anything to discourage others who are thinking about doing something? The freedom to speak does not have to be exercised every time. Nothing will happen to you if WFC goes bankrupt. Your assets are safe.

    End of Rant.
  • @Hank,

    Here is an article from Rick Steve, author to the show Rick Steve's Europe. He does a better job in explaining chip embedded credit card than I can.
  • VF thanks for your replies. VF said"WFC can keep paying the same fine every year and as long as the stock keeps going up no one will care. No one is going to bring criminal proceedings against Wells Fargo. A banks collateral is it assets. Pull them out, people!"

    Their fine was a tad short ,compared to their profits . 23 billion last year . I believe that's what I read in WSJ article.
  • edited September 2016
    VintageFreak: "You say WFC has been punished? How? By the fine? How is "having to fire" 5300 people punishing Wells Fargo?"

    Response: Uh,yeah. A "fine" is a punishment, a penalty. Look it up. Practically, you can't toss a corporation in the Hoosegow -- unless you want to toss 10,000s of WFC employees out of work for the bad behavior of a few. Companies pay fines for bad behavior.

    The amount of the penalty was deemed appropriate by our govt's Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. If you feel the fine is inadequate, then maybe write a letter to the CFPB and voice your disatisfaction.

    The 5,300 fired employees were the ones implicated in the actual behavior. I certainly don't think those people should be retained by the firm, do you? Beside the fine, Wells is going to make restitution to those who were illicitly gouged with bank fees --- which we should distinguish from most bank clients who are legally gouged by bank fees....

    In the grand scheme of things, I think there is much more sinister corporate behavior with far greater serious effects than generating a few illicit fees. Unfortunately, in this country, its the behavior which is LEGAL which is the problem. But that is a topic for some future vent, er, thread...
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