They have learned nothing.
I walked into my Wells Fargo branch to put my data backup into my safe deposit box, as I’ve been doing for a decade. This routine business turned into a wake-up call about safe deposit boxes and churned up insights into how Wells Fargo conducts to this day its cross-selling efforts: the algo makes them do it!
To clarify, I’m a happy customer. Wells Fargo handles day-to-day banking for me and my vast WOLF STREET media-mogul-empire corporation. The people are nice, and I have not yet noticed any fraudulent accounts in my name.
It doesn’t bother me that every time I call one of the national numbers with a problem or question, I have to swat away their offers of “pre-approved” credit cards, lines of credit, or other high-margin products. Having run a car dealership earlier in my life, I appreciate the art of aggressive cross-selling. However, we never-ever did it over the phone! We waited till we saw the whites of their eyes.
Yet at the counter for safe deposit boxes, I was in for a surprise. The young man – a 30-year-old employee would have looked suspiciously over-age at that branch – checked the computer for my box number. There was a problem. He asked for my driver’s license. He rummaged through a file cabinet, found the signature cards. He conferred with another kid. He came back, embarrassed. Turns out, the fact that I’ve been renting the box for a decade wasn’t in their computer system. So no-go.
I thought: That’s how easy it is to block you from getting into your safe deposit box.
He called over a “personal banker” – a young woman – to “fix” the problem. We trotted off to her desk. She said the bank had “updated” its computer system. My box rental hadn’t made it into the new version. So she got busy on her computer. Took a while. She had to set it up. There were fees and discounts to discuss. There were things I had to read, agree to, and sign. She was just about finished, when she suddenly did a mini double-take of her screen. Everything came to a halt.
“I don’t mean to sell you anything,” she said after a long pause, with an embarrassed smile, “but….”