“Capitalism forgets that life is social. And the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism, but in a higher synthesis.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
No one could say it more eloquent than Dr. King. He was beyond his time and he know that a capitalistic system brings with it social inequality. Capitalism has always been sold as the way the world should operate. Money and profit taking precedence over the well being of a human being. Capitalism is the direct cause of the most recent financial scandal to rock the American economic system.
Wells Fargo , the third largest bank in the US has been caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Since 2011, employees secretly created millionsof unauthorized bank and credit card accounts without their customers knowing about it. These phoney accounts earned the bank imaginary fees driven from imaginary accounts. Supposedly these employees did it to boost their sales figures and make more money. Like good corporate citizens, Wells Fargo announced that it had fired 5,300 employees over the last few years related to the shady behaviour.
I have a problem digesting the real reason behind this fraud. Take my opinion as an ex-bank employee with 2o years experience as you’d like. In the banking world, you are as good as your most recent month’s results relative to your objectives. If you don’t meet your objectives, you are OUT ! Yes, it’s as simple as that. Your inefficiency to meet objectives is not tolerated. You are just a number, just another pawn in the game of let’s see how much return we can produce for our shareholders. This is capitalism at it’s best and the real reason behind this fraud.
What everyone fails to see or report is the overwhelming pressure to succeed and meet objectives. There is only so much juice you can squeeze out of an orange. Wells Fargo upper management happens to believe that there is no limit. Cross selling is famous in banking circles. A client comes to see you for an account. While they are in your office you try to cross sell them other products. But Wells Fargo brought this to whole new level.
CEO John Stumph had a slogan “Eight is great” as in every client should have eight accounts. Didn’t matter what it was, credit line, credit card, 2-3 accounts, personal loan as long as it was an account and that magic number of eight was attained. Our friendly CEO along with other high level managers methodically calculated that a client’s profitability would be optomized at eight accounts. This was the culture and they didn’t hide it. If you didn’t achieve this ridiculous objective the employee would be reprimanded and eventually fired if things didn’t improve. Could you imagine the stress and pressure hanging over these employees day in and day out ? Trust me when I say it isn’t fun. I lived it on a much smaller scale and it is suffercating. It consumes you and one day you find yourself doing anything to meet your objectives, including opening fake accounts.
Who is the architect of this fraud ? The 5,300 low level employees that were fired or the system that creates this atmosphere of do what you have to do at all costs. So what did our friendly CEO John Stumpf receive for overseeing this fraud ? Well he unexpectedly retired from the company with a small severance package worth only 134 million $. I guess this lying piece of shit didn’t appreciate being grilled by two congressional panels over the way the bank handled the alleged scam. The rat was criticized for the way he handled the questioning, pushing the blame to lower-level employees and not holding upper-level executives including himself, responsible. That’s right, throw everyone under the bus like all the other Wall street executives that suck the blood out of lower level employees that happen to make them their fortunes. It’s enough to make you sick.
All of this brought to you by true and unadulterated capitalism !