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."
The next big change they instituted was roughly doubling the number of daily meetings between managers and bankers. Bankers were pressured to have new sales to report every couple of hours, which was made harder by the fact that a lot of their sales time was spent reporting on sales. "I would have a customer at my desk and [be] having a transaction with them ... or helping them with a problem that was sensitive ... it didn't matter, those numbers took precedence. So my manager would race in at 2:55 [and say], 'Kristen what are your numbers?' My customer could be in tears ... it didn't matter."
Bad sales were punished by forced attendance at 7 a.m. conference calls -- which, due to bank security measures, required the banker to show up at 5 or 6. Another way Wells Fargo punished their employees was with "sales nights," aka "several hours of cold-calling random people after the close of business."
"Those were the nights when where we would open five checking accounts for friends and family just to go home early."