photo courtesy of Tony Webster
It is spreading fast. I heard it on Twitter this morning.
Most of you have probably seen the various news articles online today. It's pretty shocking. I was going to write a bit about my feelings on this, but when I saw Bob's post, I thought that I wouldn't be able to say it much better, so I'm just going to re-blog it. Go to Bob's post or re-blog it. If you're not a member of ActiveRain, write about it on your personal blog, Twitter about it, talk about it on Facebook - whatever, just spread the word on this one. Let people know that these kinds of abuses are unacceptable. I have to say, Wells Fargo - you messed this one up.
I don't generally write about anything other than ActiveRain. Every once in a while I'll write about my kid, but for the most part I try to keep my personal views and opinions to myself. I don't want them reflecting on my company (I have pretty strong views and in my personal life I have no issues sharing them if someone asks.........ok, sometimes I'll just butt in and share them even when I wasn't asked).
Have you guys seen this? A Wells Fargo executive in charge of Foreclosed Commerical properties decided to take full advantage of a home that had been foreclosed on in Malibu. The $12,000,000 home was forfeited by a family that was swindled in the Bernard Madoff Scam. You can read the entire story here, here, here or here and probably 1000 other places......I won't rehash it for you. My post is a plea to John G. Stumpf, CEO of Wells Fargo to do something about it.
You must move swiftly. This is not going to bode well for your company if you don't. You have the ability to let the public know that even the appearance of impropriety will not be tolerated within your company. Most stories of foreclosure are heartbreaking enough on their own, let alone knowing the folks who forfeited their home lost it in the Madoff Ponzi scheme.......but really??? One of your Senior VP's was using the place as a Vacation home and throwing parties there like she's the Great Gatsby??
I'll bet she wasn't the only person from the bank at those parties. What do you think? I'll bet there were more than a few people that knew about this. If you find out that was the culture in her division of your bank, what are you going to do about it? This is not acceptable. I'm not a shareholder in your company, I'm just a concerned member of the real estate community. If I was a shareholder though I would be demanding to know the reprecussions. And I'd want to know them quick, because this story is going to reach MILLIONS of people in the next 24 hours.
You are a Minnesota native, from the midwest, the heart of America. How do you think the folks back in Minnesota would feel about this? Let's just pretend this happened in their community. Not a $12,000,000 beach house, but a magnificent $860,000 place in the Highland area of St Paul. And the Senior VP of their local branch was throwing parties and carrying on in the house as if he deserved to. How do you think that would sit with them?
Do you read the news? Do you keep your ears and eyes open to places like Facebook, Twitter, ActiveRain (you really should be here keeping the pulse of the people). In case you haven't heard, banks are getting a pretty bad rap right now. Yep, your reputations as a whole are kind of soiled. Here is a great chance to rise above the other banks slopping around in the mud and do something that shows your bank is different. Or, you can hide behind statements like 'we plan to conduct a thorough investigation'. Buddy, the investigation was done by the Associated Press. I would suggest your investigators call theirs and you compare notes.
The damage to the reputation of your company is being done RIGHT NOW. Where did I see this? Facebook. Do you know how many millions of people are reading this and hearing about this right now? Be decisive and swift, it's your only chance to make this a positive. 'Wells Fargo is not like these other institutions. We do not take advantage of our customers and if we have rogue employees doing such, they will be punished to the full extent of the law. This employee has been suspended until the completion of the investigation'. That is what you should be saying.
John, I don't think you guys in the ivory tower understand how fast information is moving down here on the street. You don't even have a handle on how your own employees are using social media. I'd extend an invitation to help, but I've already done that. I hope you are able to set an example of how to deal with something of this nature within your organization because lots of people are looking at you to see what you're going to do.
What will you do?
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Matt Stigliano, Realtor® Becker Properties | (210) 646-HOME | www.RErockstar.com
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