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Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Message Board

  • lookingforsmoke lookingforsmoke Dec 22, 2013 12:33 PM Flag

    Wells Fargo's Pressure-cooker Sales Culture Comes at a Cost

    Being that Berkshire Hathaway's investment in Wells Fargo is about $20 billion, need Buffett be concerned about the questionable practices at Wells Fargo's bank branches?

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    • That's a good question. WFC may be profitable for now and well-managed in WEB's eyes., but my own personal experience at WFC (as perhaps a more discerning bank cutomer than some) led me to close all accounts there in favor of banks that offered much better customer service, along with more benefits and perks, including BAC and Chase. Hard to tell how many others have had a similar experience with WFC, and admittedly no bank is perfect.

    • baltbear Dec 22, 2013 6:15 PM Flag

      If each and every bit of damages caused by such practices was punished by 3x clawback, what's the net effect on WFC "earnings" over 5 years? How much discount for the odds on such a scenario happening?
      THat's how much WB needs be concerned.

      • 1 Reply to baltbear
      • Balt,
        What will be the eventual cost of customer and employee backlash? Lots of pressure on employees to meet numbers results in hard selling which alienates customers. For every add-on service cancelled by a customer, another add-on service then has to be sold just to maintain the numbers. Churn will eventually result in diminishing returns from the cross-selling effort and eventually the numbers will not be able to be maintained.

        For a good laugh, Google, "Fargo mid-session MGF review"

    • Nay!

      About year after my first BRK-B purchase, I got a reality smack down, when the Cleveland edition of the WSJ ran a devastating front page article on Kirby's sales practices.

      « Monday, October 4, 1999, Here’s the Pitch, How Kirby Persuades Uncertain Consumers To Buy $1,500 Vacuum, The Door-to-Door Hard Sell Brings Profits, Criticism, To Berkshire Hathaway ‘Pushiest People I Ever Saw’. »

      That article ended on this note:

      « Since Berkshire Hathaway bought Kirby parent Scott Fetzer for $315 million in 1986, Berkshire's Mr. Buffett -- who is known for preaching the importance of managing with integrity -- has said little about the company, outside of the occasional praise for its earnings growth.

      Scott Fetzer's Mr. Schey says Mr. Buffett's only instruction to him was: "I just want you to run an honest business." »


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