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Question about Wells Fargo
Old 01-04-2021, 04:26 PM   #1
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Question about Wells Fargo

I have had a banking relationship (personal and business) with Wells Fargo for years. I heard about their problems opening accounts with customers, but with mid-seven figures under management in their private bank, I expected they would be more careful with my relationship. However, there has been a noticeable drop in their customer service, and their model seems to be transitioning from customer focused to systems focused. What use to get done with an email or call to my private banker or a visit to my local branch, now requires I be routed through their 1-800 number, with a 30 minute wait for someone to answer is the norm.

Earlier this year I tried to pay off my Wells Fargo Mortgage. What should have been an easy payment from my Well Fargo Bank account to my Wells Fargo mortgage account turned into a week's worth of uncertainly and reversed payments. Seems their system is not set up to accept individual mortgage payments in excess of $99,999.00, and you cannot pay more than the current balance, even if the payoff is more (due to the $10 mortgage satisfaction fee).

Last week I tried to move $57,000 from my Wells Fargo business account to my Wells Fargo SepIRA, but was stymied over and over because they have disabled the ability to transfer money from a Wells Fargo account to a Wells Fargo SepIRA. When I finally got a phone banker on the phone, she told me this was done to protect me from inadvertently transferring money out of the SepIRA account into my business account. The fact that I want to move money INTO the SepIRA, not OUT OF the SepIRA, made no difference to the phone banker.

I was told to fill out a transfer form and to send it to them. I filled out the form and walked across the street to the Wells Fargo branch, and for the next hour I watched as the poor Wells Fargo branch banker was told misinformation after misinformation. First, they told him the limit for a SepIRA was $7,000. Nope, that's the limit for regular individual IRAs. Next he was told the window for 2020 SepIRA contributions closed Oct 15, 2020, and that they only kept it open that long because the IRS extended the deadline from the normal April 15th deadline.

We tried to explain to the phone banker that they were confusing the deadline for 2019 contributions with 2020 contributions (which can be made until April 15, 2021), but the phone banker was having none of that and refused, saying I would have to wait until January 2021 before they open their system to accepting SepIRA contributions again, and that I would only be able to contribute for 2021 as I missed the governments October 15th deadline.

I had the branch banker fax the form I filled out, but so far nothing.

I talked to my private banker today and he confirmed that Oct 15th was the deadline for 2019 contributions, and that I have until April 15, 2021 to make my 2020 SepIRA contribution, but when asked to check to see if my transfer form is being processed, he said he is no longer given access to the investment side of the bank.

I talked to my mother, who has her entire portfolio managed with Wells Fargo, and after I mentioned my concerns she told me she has experienced similar apathy from the bank. I asked if she still meets annually with an investment advisor to make sure her investment goals are being met and she said they have not met with her in a few years.

Are others seeing a noticeable change in their level of customer service from Wells Fargo? Has the bank decided to curtail the ability of the private and branch bankers in favor of a unified system where they route private banking customer through a call center? If so, this tells me the days are numbered for the bankers in our communities who work with and care about their customers.

I think it may be time to research the services of other banks.
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Old 01-04-2021, 05:10 PM   #2
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I too have seen the deterioration of customer service from bad to worse. I can remember when service was outstanding but now that is a pipe dream. I'm a former SVP with JPMorganchase. The current CEO (Charlie Scharf), was a former EVP with JPM. I've worked for Charlie and have been tempted to call him many times regarding the poor service. I have emailed and called a couple of executives to complain. I promptly received VIP service but quickly dissipated over time. With my account balances, I shouldn't have to beg for BASIC decent service.

Unfortunately, unless the hammer is over the head of the current branch manager, service is still poor. I've been tempted to move my account but didn't want to hassle with the paperwork. BUT, it is my money and still condsidering moving my accounts.
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Old 01-04-2021, 06:08 PM   #3
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Sounds like time to vote with your feet, move your accounts.
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Old 01-04-2021, 06:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asabino View Post
... I've been tempted to move my account but didn't want to hassle with the paperwork. BUT, it is my money and still considering moving my accounts.
DW was also an SVP (Investments and Trust) at a megabank. She finally moved her money (serious 7 figures) when her account rep didn't understand the difference between buying t-bills on the auction vs buying in the secondary market. Did the latter when she wanted the former. So she moved to Schwab, where I have had my investments for many years. We get excellent service, including a special customer service phone number staffed by competent people. Never a sales pitch, either.

I believe one criterion for selecting a broker is that retail investments are that company's main business. Investments are a side business for most megabanks and all insurance companies and retail investments are simply a cow to be milked at places like Morgan Stanley. (I know from experience.)

Retail investment orientation IMO is necessary but not sufficient for selection. You still have to somehow weed out the Fast Eddies who are oriented strictly to fees and commissions.
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Old 01-04-2021, 06:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSdot View Post
I have had a banking relationship (personal and business) with Wells Fargo for years. I heard about their problems opening accounts with customers, but with mid-seven figures under management in their private bank, I expected they would be more careful with my relationship. However, there has been a noticeable drop in their customer service, and their model seems to be transitioning from customer focused to systems focused. What use to get done with an email or call to my private banker or a visit to my local branch, now requires I be routed through their 1-800 number, with a 30 minute wait for someone to answer is the norm.

Earlier this year I tried to pay off my Wells Fargo Mortgage. What should have been an easy payment from my Well Fargo Bank account to my Wells Fargo mortgage account turned into a week's worth of uncertainly and reversed payments. Seems their system is not set up to accept individual mortgage payments in excess of $99,999.00, and you cannot pay more than the current balance, even if the payoff is more (due to the $10 mortgage satisfaction fee).

Last week I tried to move $57,000 from my Wells Fargo business account to my Wells Fargo SepIRA, but was stymied over and over because they have disabled the ability to transfer money from a Wells Fargo account to a Wells Fargo SepIRA. When I finally got a phone banker on the phone, she told me this was done to protect me from inadvertently transferring money out of the SepIRA account into my business account. The fact that I want to move money INTO the SepIRA, not OUT OF the SepIRA, made no difference to the phone banker.

I was told to fill out a transfer form and to send it to them. I filled out the form and walked across the street to the Wells Fargo branch, and for the next hour I watched as the poor Wells Fargo branch banker was told misinformation after misinformation. First, they told him the limit for a SepIRA was $7,000. Nope, that's the limit for regular individual IRAs. Next he was told the window for 2020 SepIRA contributions closed Oct 15, 2020, and that they only kept it open that long because the IRS extended the deadline from the normal April 15th deadline.

We tried to explain to the phone banker that they were confusing the deadline for 2019 contributions with 2020 contributions (which can be made until April 15, 2021), but the phone banker was having none of that and refused, saying I would have to wait until January 2021 before they open their system to accepting SepIRA contributions again, and that I would only be able to contribute for 2021 as I missed the governments October 15th deadline.

I had the branch banker fax the form I filled out, but so far nothing.

I talked to my private banker today and he confirmed that Oct 15th was the deadline for 2019 contributions, and that I have until April 15, 2021 to make my 2020 SepIRA contribution, but when asked to check to see if my transfer form is being processed, he said he is no longer given access to the investment side of the bank.

I talked to my mother, who has her entire portfolio managed with Wells Fargo, and after I mentioned my concerns she told me she has experienced similar apathy from the bank. I asked if she still meets annually with an investment advisor to make sure her investment goals are being met and she said they have not met with her in a few years.

Are others seeing a noticeable change in their level of customer service from Wells Fargo? Has the bank decided to curtail the ability of the private and branch bankers in favor of a unified system where they route private banking customer through a call center? If so, this tells me the days are numbered for the bankers in our communities who work with and care about their customers.

I think it may be time to research the services of other banks.
In the early 2000's we had a 15 year fixed mortgage with Wells Fargo. We made payments from our Citibank account to the mortgage. They did allow additional principal payments with the regular monthly payments. They also had a rule that you could not make a payment greater than $99,999 and mortgage payoffs required a different process that required completion of additional forms and balance payment by certified check. We had a balance of $119K and decided to payoff the mortgage. All we did was split the payments over two months and zeroed the mortgage balance. We received a call from Wells Fargo stating that we did not follow normal procedures. However there was nothing they could do as we legally paid off the mortgage using their "additional principal payment" rules. They sent us the reconveyance document a month later. That was the end of our relationship with Wells Fargo.
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Old 01-04-2021, 10:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Freedom56 View Post
In the early 2000's we had a 15 year fixed mortgage with Wells Fargo. We made payments from our Citibank account to the mortgage. They did allow additional principal payments with the regular monthly payments. They also had a rule that you could not make a payment greater than $99,999 and mortgage payoffs required a different process that required completion of additional forms and balance payment by certified check. We had a balance of $119K and decided to payoff the mortgage. All we did was split the payments over two months and zeroed the mortgage balance. We received a call from Wells Fargo stating that we did not follow normal procedures. However there was nothing they could do as we legally paid off the mortgage using their "additional principal payment" rules. They sent us the reconveyance document a month later. That was the end of our relationship with Wells Fargo.
This basically how I resolved it for my 15 year fixed mortgage as well. Had to make multiple payments to cover the mortgage payoff. When I talked to a banker they eventually sorted it out after a week. While it was waiting to be sorted, the online system showed that the payments were being reversed (on the mtg page only, not on my bank account page), but with the upcoming $3,200 payment still owing. I went to turn off direct payment from my account, so I wouldn't overpay by $3,200, but the WF system wouldn't let me turn off direct payment. That really pissed me off because I had to get a banker to put me in touch with a 1-800 banker to turn the autopay feature off.

I played around with the WF bill pay system and I could turn on and off autopay for any of my other payments, but it seems when you get a WF mortgage and set up autopay they lock you in so you can't easily turn it off yourself.
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Old 01-05-2021, 06:09 AM   #7
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I used to have all of my accounts (checking, savings, mortgage, brokerage) through Wells Fargo, but have seen a steep decline in service over the years. The scandals involving abuse of workers and setting up fake accounts to pad their numbers was the last straw.

I moved all of my accounts to NFCU and brokerage to Vanguard. I am so much more pleased with the service and results.

The last string I have tied to WF is the mortgage which will be gone in September of this year. Thank you for sharing your experience with the mortgage payoff. I will remember that when the time comes to send that final payment.
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Old 01-05-2021, 08:06 AM   #8
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I was a Wachovia customer since 1992, and Wells Fargo bought them. I stay with Wells Fargo because the quality of their bookkeeping system and bill pay is just so good. But you've illustrated the Wells Fargo computer system doesn't suit all customers' needs.

I've seen the banking world deteriorate since 1990 when huge national banks purchased large regional banks. They're now trying to run sticks and bricks storefronts with very few people because their profit centers are not in face to face banking. And they give local offices very low limits in decision making--with many loan approvals having to go to a regional loan committee that meets weekly.

Our main Wells Fargo location has offices for 12 or more loan officers. But now, there are only 2-3 people and a bunch of empty offices. Go into the branch to apply for a loan, and they stick you on a computer terminal which is something you could have done from home. And all the while, Wells Fargo's loan rates are not competitive.

Wells Fargo's offices are like a ghost town--with only foot traffic coming from business' making daily deposits. The only financial institution with any people are a local savings and loan and a couple of large credit unions. I have no idea why there are 14 big banks and savings and loans within a 3 block area, as every one has nobody in them.

Those big national banks now are just too difficult to do business with. Officers in local banks are often just out of college in a transition job--without authority or knowledge to do much of anything. Sometimes it's time to move on to another bank, savings and loan or credit union that appreciates your business.
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