There's obviously a lot of thought that goes into a corporation's "Vision and Values". It's really hard to capture a larger thought that incorporates everything your company stands for and boil it down into a single statement. After a recent interaction with Wells Fargo I wanted to look up their "Vision and Values" to see how it matched up with my understanding of them. Here is what I found:
"Everything we do is built on trust. It doesn't happen with one transaction, in one day on the job or in one quarter. It's earned relationship by relationship." - John G. Stumpft, Chairman and CEO
That sounds great, right? Who wouldn't want to have that kind of relationship with their bank? I certainly would. Unfortunately, my relationship with Wells Fargo is…let's just say strained right now. Let me paint you the picture to get a better understanding.
I've been banking with Wells Fargo for at least 12 years. When I moved up from Georgia they were the first bank that I opened an account with. At the time they were Wachovia, but essentially it's the same company. For the past, let's say, 5 years I've been transferring money every two weeks into a joint account that I have with my wife at USAA. They offer some nice financial incentives for their customers and since my wife is the one who handles most of our bill-paying it made sense to have one central bank to write checks.
So, for at least 5 years I've been transferring a large percent of each paycheck from my Wells Fargo account to our USAA account. Each year I set up the automatic transfer for the upcoming year (based on any increases to my pay). I won't use real numbers…but let's say that I've been transferring $1.50 per paycheck for the past two years, $1.35 the year before and $1.30 for the two years prior to that.
This year, when I attempted to setup my account (as I do each year) I was told that the maximum transfer amount is $1.20. It's now "bank policy" that one cannot transfer more than this amount on a given day, or $3 for a given month. No matter that some months include three pay periods and would put me over that $3 total (3 x $1.50 = $4.50). So not only can I not transfer the $1.50 that is required for us to pay our mortgage, electric, auto payments, etc., but I can't even make multiple transfers over the span of 30 days in order to cover our bills.
To make makers worse, the brainiacs at Wells Fargo have decided that to demonstrate their emphasis in "Trust" they will start implementing a $3 fee (that's a real number not made up) on each transaction. So in order for me to continue what I've been doing for the past 5+ years I will now be charged a minimum of $6, and at times $9, per month. That may not seem like a lot, but at $78 per year that would total up nearly $400 over the past 5 years.
When I called Wells Fargo today to confirm my understanding, I got an infuriating answer. I outlined the above items and the lady I was speaking with said "Yes, that makes sense.". What part of the above "makes sense"? When I enquired about having the $3 transaction fee waived she simply said "there's nothing we can do to waive the recurring fee unfortunately". She was kind enough to waive a single transaction fee (for my trouble), but moving forward there it was simply out of her hands. I'm being screwed over by the same entity that has a mantra that trust is "earned relationship by relationship".
It was an inconvenience to make multiple transfers instead of it being automatic (to stay under the $1.25 cap) but I was prepared to ride it out. It's been a fairly good relationship over the years…dare I say that I've had a neutral relationship to this point (which is likely pretty good compared to most peoples' relationship with their bank). But when they informed me that I was also going to be dinged $3 per transaction that became too much.
I doubt that a massive bank like Wells Fargo will care about losing me as a customer, but the smallest
floods often start with a single crack. So, starting today I will be informing our HR department that my direct deposit should now be directed to USAA moving forward.
Thanks for the good times Wells Fargo. My trust may not have been gained with just one transaction, but you certainly lost it in one.