BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Wells Fargo has taken a big reputational hit from its phony-accounts scandal, but CEO Tim Sloan said Monday that the firm’s efforts to recruit new employees have not been hurt.
“You’d think so, but it really hasn’t,” he said during a panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference. “It really hasn’t had any sort of impact.”
Sloan, who became CEO in October, is responsible for engineering a turnaround in the wake of revelations that employees opened as many as 2.1 million accounts without customers’ permission.
Amid the scandal, the number of consumers signing up for checking accounts and credit cards has dropped sharply at Wells Fargo. And in the first quarter, profits in the company’s retail banking unit fell by 9% from a year earlier.
But Sloan insisted Monday that recruiting at the San Francisco-based bank has not been affected. Wells has 273,000 employees in roughly 40 countries. “We’re not having really any difficulty in terms of attracting good talent,” Sloan said.
He added that, as a result of recent changes in how retail banking employees at Wells Fargo are compensated, low-level employees are staying with the company longer.
In January, Wells announced that it was increasing wages for its lowest-paid workers, part of an overhaul in employee compensation that was designed to reduce the incentives for bad behavior.
“Our turnover now in our retail bank is the lowest that it’s been, that I can recall, in my 30 years with the company,” Sloan said.