Photo: Bloomberg TV screenshot
A string of bad experiences with Wells Fargo should have turned Dick Bove off to the bank for good. They wouldn’t refinance his mortgage, slapped him with fees, and its tellers were generally unhelpful. But what happened was just the opposite. In his latest report, Bove told investors customer service comes second to “pushing products and managing risk,” reports the Times’ Nathaniel Popper.
“Spending time solving problems with people is not selling products. It’s wasting time,” Bove told Popper. “I’m struck by the fact that (Wells Fargo’s) service is so bad, and yet the company is so good.”
Bove experienced this firsthand as a longtime Wachovia customer. When the bank was bought out by Wells Fargo, a store greeter was replaced with an employee pushing products, and any employee who refused to help was simply “padding the company’s bottom line,” wrote Popper. Bad for customers, good for business.
Bove is a businessman in his own right, but most consumers value a solid relationship over a balance sheet at their bank. Whether they’re being hit with overdraft fees or in search of more personalised service, people tend to leave when the service is poor.
And according to the National Credit Union Administration, nearly 700,000 consumers did just that this year. The most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index found that credit unions trumped larger banks in a number of ways, often by virtue of size. The smaller they were, the more personalised service they offered, respondents said, and credit unions typically did so with minimal or no fees attached.
So does Bove have plans to leave the big bank? He didn’t say, but we bet he’s investing with Wells Fargo.
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