The above quote is from the Wells Fargo Vision and Values statement that I came across while doing some research on Wells Fargo and the fact that they possibly encouraged and pressured their employees to open 1.5 fraudulent bank accounts and 565,000 fraudulent credit cards. Yes, they fired some 5,300 employees over 5 years as they learned about these incidents but we don’t know at this point how high the firings went or will go. These firings and the penalties levied by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other government entities should be the start of the ramifications that Wells Fargo faces and not the end.
Largest Identity Theft Ring In History
If we were to read in the Wall Street Journal that an identity theft ring was indicted for stealing 565,0000 credit cards and opening 1.5 million fraudulent bank accounts, those masterminds would certainly be going to a Federal prison for a long time. And they should. And so should those found to be involved or aware of the sales practices (it’s really thievery) that were in place during the past 5 years. Corporate executives need to be held responsible for their actions AND the actions of their employees and face severe financial and criminal penalties when they commit a crime. Of course, the majority if not all of these high paid executives have corporate paid executive liability policies for things just like this… but criminal actions and intentional actions like this should not be covered by these policies and pain should be found in these executives checkbooks. This identity theft ring should be traced to the highest level and the mastermind should be punished and made to pay back bonuses based on financial results and the value of their stock appreciation over the past 5 years. At the top of this criminal gang is CEO, John G. Strumpf who was the highest paid bank CEO in 2012 with a pay package of $22.9 million dollars including significant bonuses and stock options. This is where the culpability should rise to.
Vision and Values
John G. Strumpf is the spokesman for the company’s Vision and Values statement which you can find here.
We believe in our vision and values just as strongly today as we did the first time we put them on paper, and staying true to them will guide us toward continued growth and success for decades to come. As you read more about our vision and values, you will learn about who we are, where we’re headed, and how every Wells Fargo team member can help us get there.
When reading this Values and Vison statement it made me question the reason for any company to invest any amount of time or money in documents like this if the values can be so easily thrown away and discarded. However, when a company lives and breathes these and doesn’t allow corporate greed to make them diverge from their mission, it can be a good thing. It can be a good thing for shareholders, employees and the communities they operate in.
Code of Ethics
Not only does Wells Fargo have a great Values and Vision statement but they also have a prominently displayed Code of Ethics. Again, is this a waste of time if they don’t live by their own ethics?
Wells Fargo’s reputation as one of the world’s great companies for integrity and principled performance depends on our doing the right thing, in the right way, and complying with the laws, rules and regulations that govern our business. We earn trust by behaving ethically and holding all team members and directors accountable for the decisions we make and the actions we take. The Code of Ethics and Business Conduct (PDF) serves to guide the actions and decisions of our team members, including executive officers, and directors consistent with our company vision and values.
Ending Corporate Greed and Corruption
I’m a business person that has worked at Fortune 500 companies (EDS), start-ups (indoorDIRECT), .coms (i2Technologies) and have founded my own company (Fit2train.com) and am NOT ANTI-BUSINESS. There is s difference between being anti-business and anti-bad companies and anti-corporate greed. When companies are acting in the best interest of their employees, shareholders and customers and making great products or delivering superb service they should be able to earn a fair profit. As part of this success their executives, employees and shareholders should share in that success and be compensated fairly for it. Yes, executives should make more than other employees as they have specialized and unique talents and not easily found. Just like the company should be able to earn a fair profit, their executives should be able to earn reasonable compensation. Reasonable, not exorbitant. That’s when everything is going well and the company is playing by the rules. And when they don’t play by the rules and break the law… they should be punished as criminals and face similar punishments.
Losing the Vision and Values
When companies, especially public companies, lose their way. Lose their vision. Lose their values. When they do these very things they espouse and talk about to shareholders and customers and egregiously violate the law, they should be punished as the criminals they are. There is no difference between what Wells Fargo did and an identity theft ring.
Wells Fargo has overstepped the line of corporate greed and should have their banking or corporate charter revoked or suspended in their state of incorporation (of course it’s Delaware for favorable tax treatment and courts) until they can file a corporate reorganization plan that focuses on their ability to mitigate fraud in the future and begin to earn the trust back of their customers and the public as a whole.