A prominent La Jolla resident, who does not want her name used, knows what led Wells Fargo down the crooked path: management hubris.
In 2009, her daughter was headed for college. Mother and daughter went to Wells Fargo, where the family had banked for years. They were told (erroneously, as it turned out) that if the daughter exceeded her debit card balance, her card would be automatically refused. It didn't work out that way. She made many small purchases with the card. Soon, the daughter got a bank statement indicating she was being charged $35 per overdraft, and owed Wells Fargo $260 in overdraft charges on $11.94 of purchases.
Indignantly, the mother went to the bank. A customer service representative took off one of the overdraft charges, but the daughter still owed 20 times the amount of her purchase. By registered mail, the mother wrote the Wells Fargo chairman, the predecessor of the chairman who swiftly departed this week. The mother heard from no one at Wells.
The mother was a good friend of one of La Jolla's most prominent citizens, now deceased. That lady was a good friend of the Wells regional manager. So the mother wrote the regional manager. Once again, Wells Fargo did not reply.
At one point in her ordeal, the mother was told by a Wells employee, "We have the right to do this." Says the mother, "Having the right and doing what is right are two different things." The family pulled its accounts from Wells.