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Consequences of Culture: How the blinkered focus on numbers is destroying financial services brands

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“You should resign. You should give back the money you took while this scam was going on and you should be criminally investigated.” Ouch. Imagine if that was a public official leveling such a charge at you, the CEO of a heretofore well-respected financial services institution. Think of the damage done, not only to your personal reputation, but to the brand value of your company and the morale of your people. Yet this is exactly what John Stumpf, CEO of venerable Wells Fargo Bank, had to endure at the hands of Senator Elizabeth Warren this week. This Senate hearing came on the heels of a scandal in which bank employees, under reportedly intense pressure to cross-sell products to make their numbers, fraudulently opened new accounts for customers without their permission. To make matters worse, Stumpf appeared to blame the proverbial “few bad apples” for the trouble, although it appears as though the number of apples fired as a result was somewhere north of 5,000 and none of them, oddly…