In September 2016, Wells Fargo was issued a combined total of $185 million in fines for creating over 1.5 million checking and savings accounts and 500,000 credit cards that its customers never authorized. Roughly 14,000 of those accounts incurred over $400,000 in fees, including annual fees, interest charges and overdraft-protection fees. Employees went so far as to create phony PIN numbers and fake email addresses to enroll customers in online banking services.
Yesenia Guitron, a Wells Fargo branch employee in California, had noticed for years that the bank was opening as many as 10-15 unauthorized credit cards per customer and took her concerns to the Wells Fargo Human Resources department. She told reporters that, a result of her repeated complaints regarding the illegal practices, she was fired from the company.
Another banker, Bill Bado, was also fired in 2013 after he sent an email to Wells Fargo representatives voicing his concerns about the unauthorized accounts that were being opened. Bado had called an ethics hotline to report the fraudulent activity that he was being instructed to engage in, only to find that actually using the internal ethics procedures created by the bank would result in him losing his job.
All information in this case study is based on data that was found on public domain and official public records.