Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) is launching a new advisory group inside the bank to improve sales practices and enhance customers' experiences, the company announced in a press release.
The Office of Consumer Practices (OCP) will report to chief operating officer Scott Powell and will be led by Michael Lipsitz, the company's chief regulatory and policy affairs officer.
Duties of the new division include analyzing and making recommendations on the bank's products and services, engaging in the product development process, reviewing complaints and other data, and advising on all aspects of how Wells Fargo interacts with consumers.
"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," Powell said in a statement.
The sales culture at Wells Fargo was one of the key breakdowns at the bank that ultimately led to the phony-accounts scandal, in which employees opened roughly 2 million unauthorized savings and credit card accounts on behalf of customers.
Following the debacle, regulators slapped the bank with numerous consent orders, fines, and punishments, including the costly $1.95 trillion asset cap, which is still in place. After the scandal was unveiled in 2016, regulators tasked Wells Fargo with correcting its internal controls and governance.
Since then, the bank has instituted a new management team, almost an entirely new board of directors, and a new regulatory infrastructure.
But the OCP really seems to attack the sales culture problem head on, and the creation of the office also comes right after the bank reorganized reporting into four new operating segments.
Wells Fargo has started off the new year strong, with shares up 13% in 2021. The bank will report earnings from the fourth quarter of 2020 on Friday.