Since Wells Fargo’s practice of opening bogus accounts in customers’ nameswas first exposed, reports of the boiler room-like sales culture that led to the scheme have leaked out of the bank. In recent weeks, that trickle has turned into a flood as more and more bankers have come forward, including one former employee who says she drank “at least a bottle” of hand sanitizer each day to deal with the pressure.
Among other unethical practices, former banker Angie Payden claims she was forced to sell customers unnecessary financial products she knew they couldn’t afford and coerce them into opening new accounts by claiming old ones had been compromised. Eventually, Payden says, she could no longer take the periodic panic attacks and “extreme physical stress-related symptoms” of her job. From The New York Times:
One morning, before meeting with a customer, in which I knew I was going to have to sell unneeded services, I had a severe panic attack. I went to the bathroom and took a drink of some hand sanitizer.
This immediately reduced my anxiety. From that point, I began drinking the hand sanitizer all over the bank.
In late November 2012, I was completely addicted to hand sanitizer and drinking at least a bottle a day during my workday. In December, I was confronted by management about my behavior. I decided to seek treatment and went on leave.
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