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Wells Fargo Launches New Office of Consumer Practices

By Miriam Rozen January 13, 2021

Wells Fargo has created a new Office of Consumer Practices, which works with units across the bank, including its wealth management business, and will help “embed the customer perspective directly into our decision-making processes,” according to the bank’s chief operating officer.

“By launching the Office of Consumer Practices, we are taking another step to embed the customer perspective directly into our decision-making processes, which is an important part of strengthening our risk and control infrastructure,” Wells Fargo COO Scott Powell, who will be supervising the new office, says in a statement.

The decision comes more than four years after Wells Fargo’s retail bank fake account scandal sparked intense scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators, a rash of regulatory fines and brand-battering headlines.

The bank says the new office will be housed in the Chief Operating Office and will be led by Michael Lipsitz, the bank’s chief regulatory and policy affairs executive.

The new office’s responsibilities, as they relate to the bank’s wealth management unit, will include advising on product terms, features, pricing, disclosure and providing training materials, a spokesperson says.

The new office’s oversight “will benefit customers by helping our consumer businesses to always consider the customer perspective in their plans, initiatives and operations,” the spokesperson adds.

The spokesperson did not provide details of how financial advisors will benefit from the creation of the new office.

The newly established office “will complement efforts already underway to improve the company’s sales practices and its overall customer experience,” the according to a press release from Wells Fargo.

The new office will review “complaints metrics and other data to help identify and advise on potential consumer-related trends and outcomes,” the release says.

The new office’s training will include helping employees interact “with consumers, including older adults and people with disabilities,” the release adds.

“Keeping customers front and center is at the heart of Wells Fargo’s continued evolution,” Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf says in a statement. “The Office of Consumer Practices will play an important role in ensuring our products, services, and business practices are fair and transparent,” Scharf added.

Under his leadership, which began in October 2019, Wells Fargo has kept a “laser focus” on getting past the fake-account scandal, Scharf said in December.

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