There are some obvious reasons you’d want to bank with Wells Fargo:
- You’ve heard of it, unlike some of those online banks.
- It’s pretty widespread, with locations in 36 states.
- You might already do personal banking with Wells Fargo.
- You’ve seen that Wells Fargo has a bunch of stuff for small businesses.
And honestly, we get it. Wells Fargo has some big brand-name recognition as one of the largest banks in the United States.
But much like with Chase Bank, we have a hard time actually recommending Wells Fargo to anyone.
You’ve probably already heard of the 2016 fake account scandal—you know, when we found out that Wells Fargo opened over two million unauthorized bank accounts in customers’ names?1 Yeah, that wasn’t great. But that was just the tip of the corrupt iceberg. Here are some other highlights from Wells Fargo’s last 10 years:
- Fined for price gouging via overdraft fees2
- Paid fines for violating credit card laws3
- Settled a racketeering lawsuit regarding overcharging on home appraisals4
- Agreed to pay customers $575 million to settle a suit about improper sales practices5
- Settled a lawsuit about fraudulently forcing customers to get auto insurance6
But let’s not forget the grand finale:
- Mandated by the U.S. Federal Reserve to no longer grow or expand “until it sufficiently improves its governance and controls”7
In other words, the Fed told Wells Fargo that it’s grounded until it cleans up its act. (That regulation is still in place, a year later.)
That’s a pretty big deal. In fact, Wells Fargo is the only bank the Fed has ever smacked down quite like that (and given Chase’s colorful history, that’s saying something). And when the Fed says that a bank needs to make some big changes, we think it’s wise to pay attention.
So we ask you: Is that the kind of institution you want to hand over your business’s hard-earned cash to? Because we can’t, in good conscience, recommend that you do so.
Maybe you don’t care. After all, the likelihood that the employees at your local branch are scheming about how to best scam you is, admittedly, small.
Of course, it’s ultimately your choice. We’ve told you why we don’t recommend Wells Fargo. But we’re also going to tell you all about the different bank accounts and other products that Wells Fargo can offer your business.
If you do decide to do your business banking with Wells Fargo—though we strongly suggest you go with one of the best online banks, one of the other big banks, or your local credit union instead—you’ll know full well what you’re getting into.
So let’s dive in.