Wells Fargo Says Bank Can Grow Without Cross-Selling Incentives

Wells Fargo's Fake Account Fallout Mounts for CEO Stumpf

Wells Fargo & Co. will remain a growth company even after committing to overhaul its vaunted cross-selling strategy in the wake of its settlement with U.S. regulators over the creation of bogus accounts, Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf said.

“Cross-sell is shorthand for depth of relationship,” Stumpf said Tuesday in a phone interview. “I believe we remain a growth company because our focus is on these long-term relationships.”

The Senate Banking Committee plans to hold a hearing Sept. 20 on San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, following last week’s enforcement case in which regulators accused bank employees of opening deposit and credit-card accounts without approval to meet sales goals. Stumpf, 62, who is among executives who’ve been asked to testify, said he’s ready to appear.

“I’m prepared to go there and share our side,” Stumpf said in the interview.

Wells Fargo, which agreed to pay $185 million in fines, eliminated sales goals for retail bankers, effective Jan. 1, and instructed U.S. call center workers to temporarily halt cross-selling of financial products.

The bank’s shares fell 3.9 percent to $46.64 at 2:18 p.m. in New York, the worst performance in the 24-company KBW Bank Index.

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