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Wells Fargo Account Openings Have Tanked 44%

Wells FargoWells Fargo
A customer uses a Wells Fargo bank ATM in New York on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. Photograph by Patrick Sison—AP

In a bid to prove its trustworthiness, scandal-ridden banking giant Wells Fargo has published how many accounts it opened in October—and it wasn’t pretty.

On Thursday, the consumer banking titan, once known for its spectacular cross-selling record, revealed that account openings fell off a cliff last month. Checking account openings fell 44% since the same month a year earlier and 27% from a month ago, while new credit card applications also fell off 50% from the same month a year earlier and 35% from a months ago.

“As expected, we continued to see declines in new account openings,” CEO Tim Sloan said in a statement.

Wells Fargo’s woes started in early September, after federal agencies ordered the bank to pay $185 million for opening some 2 million accounts without consumer permission. According to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the scandal resulted from aggressive cross-selling targets. As public outrage surrounding the scandal grew, the bank promised to end its cross-selling practices.

The drop off in October accounts seems to indicate that Wells Fargo is no longer cross selling—though its unclear to what extent the decrease in account openings resulted from Wells Fargo’s flailing reputation, or from the company’s decision to stop cross selling. At the very least, the results show that Wells Fargo is not getting away from the fraud easy.

Famed investor Warren Buffett also reiterated his continued support for the bank earlier this month, telling CNN that “it takes time to restore trust.”


The monthly update, which the company pledged to release starting in the third quarter, comes as part of a larger push to increase transparency and regain consumer and stakeholder confidence.

Meanwhile, deposits in checking accounts continued to grow 7%, while credit card balances also rose 9%. Wells Fargo does not expect the lower account openings to impact revenue.

Investors also took the news in stride, as Well’s Fargo’s stock continued its climb, closing up 1.5% Thursday. Since Donald Trump was elected president, the company’s stock, along with those of banks, has completely erased its losses from the fake accounts scandal as shareholders anticipate fewer regulations on banks and higher bond yields (and therefore higher profits for banks) under the businessman’s leadership.

Still, the bank did lose 3% of its existing checking account customers in October.

Wells Fargo is expected to release its next update mid-December.