Wells Fargo continues to sustain damage from consumers who were put off by the company's phony account scandal.
The San Francisco-based bank said Friday that new consumer checking accounts fell 9% between October and November, and were down by 41% from a year earlier.
The company said the decline from October was expected, since November is typically a slower period due to the holidays. Still, the firm's head of community banking acknowledged that Wells Fargo has a lot of work to do to rebuild trust with customers.
"It'll take time for the benefits of the changes we're making to get reflected in our results," Mary Mack, who is charged with rebuilding the firm's embattled retail banking franchise, said during a conference call with analysts.
Wells' reputation has taken a big hit following revelations that more than 5,000 employees were fired between 2011 and 2015 in connection with unauthorized product sales. In October, new checking accounts fell by 44% from year earlier, and credit card applications fell by 50%.
Last month, credit card applications at Wells Fargo were down 45% from a year earlier — certainly not an enviable outcome, but still an improvement from the previous month.
During Friday's conference call, Mack indicated that she is focusing on the longer-term task of overhauling Wells Fargo's retail banking culture. Newly appointed CEO Tim Sloan has spoken recently about shifting from a sales-oriented culture to one that is more focused on customer service.
"I've continued to meet with team members throughout the country," said Mack, who was named head of community banking in July. "They're excited about the direction we're taking toward a service culture. I'm hearing this in every market I visit."