Wells Fargo loses its ground to peers in revenue per employee

Wells Fargo & Co’s leaders have repeatedly assured the public its aggressive sales culture is gone after quotas led workers to foist unwanted products on clients.

Five regional banks have surpassed Wells Fargo by that measure since the company scrapped sales targets and incentive programs in 2016 that fuelled both growth and abuses.

CEO Tim Sloan announced plans in September to trim as many as 10% of jobs within three years to help meet customer needs “in a more streamlined and efficient manner.” He’s already made progress: Headcount shrank by 3,700 in 2018.

Public pressure on Wells Fargo was on full display this week as Democrats and Republicans took turns chastising Sloan at a hearing on Capitol Hill.

The firm eliminated its old sales system, which tracked the performance of individual workers, sometimes sanctioning them for missing quotas or offering rewards to those who achieved certain targets.

“There’s going to be a stretch of time when you’ve cleaned the deck where people are just not going to be as aggressive.” In past years, being the least productive bank among the titans has proven to be a harbinger of transformational change.

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