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How to Avoid a $1 Billion Fine

By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 24, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It almost goes without saying, but let's say it anyway: you could do a lot for a company with $1 billion.

A company like Wells Fargo, which has been fined $1 billion for auto and mortgage loan abuses, could have spent that money training employees not to take advantage of consumers. Even with some 260,000 employees, that's almost $4,000 of training per employee.

Of course, money can't solve everything. But better training, hiring, and policies can help avoid even a $1 billion fine.

Cost of Education

First, a word from Wells Fargo's sponsors. Actually, the bank will be paying for this one.

Half of the $1 billion fine will to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency -- a bank regulator. The other $500,000,000 goes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

According to the Orange County Register, none of that money goes directly to the victims. That's a whole 'nother consumer, business, and regulators story.

You'd have thought Wells Fargo would have learned its lesson after the first $185 million fine for opening fake bank accounts. Three words: stop high-pressure sales.

Blank Slate Training

When a company gets slammed with fines for dishonest or illegal practices, it has to rethink its priorities and rewrite its policies. It's basically time to clean house.

Bruce Weinstein, writing for Forbes, says Wells Fargo needs to do three things to avoid another $1 billion fine:

  • Rewrite every job description
  • Hire for character
  • Celebrate high-character employees

Of course, responsibility rises to the top. And at more than $1 billion in fines, few companies can go much higher.

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