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Accountability at Wells Fargo

Foto: Ben Margot/AP

Incentives influence behavior, as the saying goes. In an environment where they are under shareholder pressure to produce ever-increasing profits, but must also contend with low interest rates, banks face strong incentives to make money in new ways.

At Wells Fargo, apparently, the solution in recent years was aggressive "cross selling" of its existing customers - that is, urging them to open credit card accounts to go with their checking accounts, and so on, in order to generate more fees. Sales personnel were assigned ambitious targets, so ambitious that many of them couldn't hit them without fraud - and were threatened with job loss for failure. ..

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