| July 24
July 24 Wells Fargo & Co ticked off the
Veteran bank analyst Dick Bove, normally a strong defender
of big banks, lashed out on Tuesday against the No. 4 U.S. bank
for the poor service it provided one of its customers: Him.
In an unusual research note, Bove, of Rochdale Research,
listed a series of grievances at his branch in Tampa, Florida,
where he said he enjoyed strong service before Wells bought
Wachovia in 2008.
He still views Wells Fargo as one of the best managed banks
in the United States, but concludes that serving customers well
is much less important than selling them products. Effective
financial management is also more important than customer
service, he added.
But Bove does care about customer service. He has been
moving his accounts to JPMorgan Chase & Co, which is
expanding in the Tampa market.
Wells Fargo spokeswoman Mary Eshet said the bank does not
comment on analyst reports, but noted the bank conducts more
than 60,000 surveys of retail banking customers each month.
During the Wachovia merger, nearly eight out of 10 customers
indicated they were "extremely satisfied," the highest rating,
"Customer service is incredibly important and central to our
vision and values at Wells Fargo," Eshet said. "We also
recognize that we're only as good as our last interaction and we
remain committed to putting our customers at the center of
everything we do."
Bove does not feel the bank was putting him first. In his
report, he describes when a banker asked him to wait to talk
with him, but instead went to the bathroom and then left the
branch. In another example, the branch referred Bove to a call
center for a question about a check, only to have the call
center refer him back to the branch.
In an interview, Bove said the last straw came about 10 days
ago when he withdrew an application to refinance his mortgage
that had dragged on for about four months. Wells later sent him
a note saying his application had been denied, which could hurt
his credit rating.
Bove said he has been talking with the bank about his
grievances for months, telling them his experience made him
question the its statements about commitment to customer
"What my Wells Fargo experience suggests is that a
successful bank is one that keeps seeking new customers and
selling them more products and not getting bogged down by
offering service," Bove wrote in his note.