Wells Fargo & Co. has created a new internal advisory group dubbed the Office of Consumer Practices (OCP) that is designed to upgrade the company’s sales practices and customer relations.
The OCP will be part of the San Francisco-headquartered institution’s will be helmed by Michael Lipsitz, Chief Regulatory and Policy Affairs Executive, and will report to COO Scott Powell. According to a statement issued by Wells Fargo, the OCP will be tasked with “assessing and advising on consumer-related products, services, and business practices to ensure the consumer’s perspective plays a significant role in decision-making.” It will also focus on “reviewing complaints metrics and other data to help identify and advise on potential consumer-related trends and outcomes,” as well as offering recommendations on policies and procedures related to consumer relations, particularly with seniors and people with disabilities.
“By launching the Office of Consumer Practices, we are taking another step to embed the customer perspective directly into our decision-making processes, which is an important part of strengthening our risk and control infrastructure,” said Powell.
The new OCP appears to be part of the continuing resonance of Wells Fargo’s 2016 retail banking scandals, when it was revealed the institution created millions of fake customer accounts to meet its sales goals. It was also accused of enacting incorrect charges to customers for mortgage rate lock extension fees and the improper referral of customers for enrollment in third-party renters and life insurance policies and the enrollment of customers in online banking services without the consent of the customers.
In late 2018, signed an agreement with the Attorneys General of all 50 states and the District of Columbia to pay $575 million in settling charges of state consumer protection laws. Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan resigned his position in early 2019 and Wells Fargo has devoted a large share of its consumer marketing over the last two years to emphasize its customer service.