By changing one simple word, Wells Fargo has turned its back on decades of company messaging — and the move alone may have ripple effects across the industry.

Sometime last month, the embattled company decided to stop referring to its branches as "stores" (the Charlotte Observer was the first to notice). Nixing the term — a longtime symbol of its sales-focused culture — was widely viewed as a knee-jerk response to intense public scrutiny in the wake of Wells' phony-account scandal. During his testimony on Capitol Hill, then-Chief Executive John Stumpf, who resigned last week, faced criticism for using the word "store," which emphasizes retail sales over service.

Limited Time Offer

Save $400 off your subscription. Special offer ends April 30, 2017.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.