An open letter to Wells Fargo and anyone else who cares:
Dear Wells Fargo,
I have been banking with you for six years. My husband has been with you since the mid-90s. When we bought our house and consolidated our finances, we decided to merge my bank accounts with his and move everything to your bank (in hindsight, I wish we had moved him to my bank instead, but you know what they say about hindsight). We added my name to his checking account, and opened a joint credit card through Wells Fargo. Our Heloc is also through your bank, and has been ever since we bought our house. Three years ago, we incorporated our business and opened a business checking account, along with a corporate credit card for each of us. Last month we opened a corporate money market savings account.
Our high-yield savings account is not with Wells Fargo, because as far as I know you do not offer one. And our HSA and IRAs are with investment brokerage firms. But all of our other banking is done with your bank, and has been for a long time. We have a perfect record with you and with every other bank/lender/financial institution we’ve ever done business with.
Last Sunday, we got an email from a vendor we use for our business, letting us know that an automatic payment had been declined. I called the 24 hour number on the back of my corporate credit card to find out what was up. I was informed by a very nice employee that our credit cards had been closed as of January 20th. Well that’s lovely – any particular reason why? The gentleman told me that they were closed because of a report from Experian. But I would have to call back the next morning to talk to someone during normal business hours to get more information. That doesn’t make for a particularly good evening.
We called the next morning and talked to another rep who told us that the reason the cards were closed was because of low usage on the accounts. To back up a bit, when we opened the credit cards, we told the business banking rep at our local Wells Fargo that we would only be spending about $300 – $500/month on our cards. But we were given accounts with $10,000 credit limits. True to our word, we’ve put approximately $400/month on the cards over the last three years. We always pay the balance in full, and have never paid any fees or interest on our corporate credit cards. But the cards are essential to our business. All of the charges are automatic, recurring bills from vendors for services that we cannot operate without.
So on Monday morning we were told that our cards were closed because of low usage. We asked to speak to a supervisor and were told that one would call us back. But that never happened. The next day, I called back to try to get a supervisor on the phone. The person I spoke with on Tuesday told me that our cards were closed because of BOTH low usage and a report from Experian that indicated (according to Wells Fargo) that the balances on our personal credit cards were too high and that the amount of time our credit had been active was too short.
I spent 45 minutes on the phone with two people on Tuesday morning trying to figure out what was going on. Conveniently enough, I had copies of our credit reports and credit scores from Experian and TransUnion from the same week that Wells Fargo had apparently gotten their report from Experian. According to the credit scores I paid for when I got our credit reports, my husband’s credit is better than 93% of Americans, and mine is better than 78%. So it would seem that you must be closing an awful lot of accounts. There’s not much we can do about the length of time our credit has been active (we haven’t closed any accounts recently), and it’s been active now for three years longer than it had been when you gave us $20,000 in credit (even though we told you we only needed about $500). I discussed with the rep the fact that we don’t carry balances on any credit cards (confirmed by the credit reports), and that we charge a small fraction of the limit on our personal Wells Fargo card and AmEx each month, and pay off the balances in full. She didn’t know what to say other than that she was sorry. As for the low usage factor, no one at Wells Fargo was able to tell me what your requirement is for usage. That sure does make it hard to adhere to, now doesn’t it?
The reps we spoke with earlier this week told us that notification was sent to us on January 20th, informing us about the accounts being closed. Today is the 29th, and we haven’t received anything yet. Did you send the letters on one of your horse-drawn wagons? Just curious.
So, you want to know what I think? About three weeks ago, I called to see if we could have our cards set up with automatic payment from our Wells Fargo corporate checking account. Since we always pay the balance in full anyway, I figured it would make my life easier if I didn’t have to write checks from the account each month, and could just have the balances paid on the due dates. Ironically, we got our credit card bills on Tuesday, and notification was included with the statements telling us that the balance would be deducted from our corporate checking account on the due date. So now Wells Fargo is well aware that we will never be interest-paying clients. We never have been, although I suppose the possibility was always there. Until we set our accounts to be automatically paid in full each month.
Once you knew that we would never be interest-paying or fee-paying clients, you decided to get rid of us. But you did it in a way that we can never fight. Your minimum usage requirement is supposedly a corporate secret. And while the information contained in credit reports is objective and can be contested (ours is all accurate), a company’s use of that data is subjective, and we can’t argue with how you interpret a credit report.
I truly felt sorry for the Wells Fargo reps I spoke with earlier this week. They seemed resigned to having a pretty rough time of it right now. I asked them if this was happening to a lot of clients, and they both said yes. I was very upset, but I was restrained and apologized to the reps for being upset. I’m guessing that a lot of your clients weren’t so polite.
The most frustrating part of all this is the $25 billion in tax dollars that Wells Fargo received in the banking bailout. You’re welcome.