Matt Levine has heard all of the Wells Fargo excuses, and he is having none of it:
You can begin to construct a hypothetical list of the incentives facing Wells Fargo consumer bankers:
- Open fake accounts to meet sales goals: Maybe get fired.
- Don’t open fake accounts, miss sales goals: Probably get fired.
- Tell executives about all the fake accounts: Definitely get fired really fast.
Look, setting up 2 million fake accounts for customers is bad, sure, but setting up a fake whistle-blowing line — telling employees they could safely report misbehavior internally, and then firing them for doing it — is astonishingly, cynically, horribly worse . . . You don’t want a culture that responds to problems by firing the people who noticed them. That sort of culture is how you end up with, you know, 2 million fake accounts and 5,300 people fired for creating them.
Matt an I don’t always agree — he can be more corporate friendly than I am — but in this case, we are completely sympatico.