Kristen started her banking career as an employee of a Wachovia branch in Tallahassee, Florida, land of either crocodiles or alligators. We can't remember which. In 2010, her branch was taken over by Wells Fargo. Based on their ads, they're apparently the bank of choice for old-timey American settlers.
Some of us prefer our banking without mounds of horseshit, but to each their own.
Wells Fargo's folksy demeanor didn't extend past the ads. The first innovation they brought to the table was a change of terms: "At any bank, you'd call it a branch ... but Wells Fargo banks are not called branches. They call all their physical buildings stores. Because they sell." Kristen's bank had been the sort of place where the bankers knew most of their clients by name; they were a part of the community. But under Wells Fargo's rein, clients were now customers, and all that mattered was signing them up for more "solutions," like a Wells Fargo debit card, or a credit card, or online banking.
The first material change Kristen noticed came when Wells Fargo installed little pay pads at every teller station and instituted a new rule requiring customers to swipe their debit card before they even greeted a teller. "A lady wanted to come in just to cash a check -- a really good customer that we'd helped for years and years." Before Wells Fargo, "the teller wouldn't have asked for her driver's license, because she could name all six of her kids". But now, that longtime customer was nothing but a potential upsell opportunity. Sure you don't want a loan or a credit card with your Social Security, grandma?
"Free toaster with every $20,000 borrowed. At this point, you can't afford not too. Think about your toastless grandchildren."