Wells Fargo drops product sales goals for retail bankers

by Laura J. Keller and Jesse Westbrook, Bloomberg

Wells Fargo & Co. eliminated product sales goals for its consumer bankers as the company seeks to reassure regulators, lawmakers and customers after employees opened more than 2 million accounts without clients’ approval.

“We want to make certain our customers have full confidence that our retail bankers are always focused on the best interests of customers,” Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf said Tuesday in a statement.

The Senate Banking Committee plans to hold a hearing Sept. 20 on San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, following last week’s enforcement case in which regulators accused bank employees of opening deposit and credit-card accounts without approval to meet sales goals. Stumpf, 62, is among executives who’ve been asked to appear. Wells Fargo, which agreed to pay $185 million in fines, eliminated sales goals for retail bankers, effective Jan. 1, and instructed U.S. call center workers to temporarily halt cross-selling of financial products.

Mary Eshet, a spokeswoman for the lender, said the U.S. Labor Day holiday was an additional incentive to drop the strategy for now because the days following it are traditionally a period of heavy call volume. Eliminating cross-selling was aimed at reducing the expected backlog, she said.

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