In one of the most heated moments on Capitol Hill, Sen. Elizabeth Warren grilled Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf for his seeming role in his company's scheme to create 1.5 million fake customer accounts. But before the Senate hearing, a former employee with the company penned a powerful Facebook post to convince people to hold Wells Fargo accountable.
Twenty-nine-year-old Kevin Pham of California reportedly worked as a teller for Wells Fargo from 2008 to 2010. He quit his job after witnessing some of the questionable practices at the bank.
"During my time there, I witnessed the alleged toxic sales culture and victimization of unwitting customers first hand," he wrote on Facebook. "This extreme pressure forced bankers to specifically target the most vulnerable customers, such as the elderly, young, non-native English speakers, and financially unsophisticated."
While Pham said that he was encouraged that Wells Fargo was fined $185 million for its fraudulent activities, he is also puzzled as to why 5,300 low-wage employees were fired — and no one from senior management lost their jobs.
So he rallied people to join him in the Hold Wells Fargo Accountable Movement, because, "what unites us is stopping the powerful from preying on the powerless," Pham told San Francisco television station KGO-TV.
In a September 22 Facebook post, Pham called for Wells Fargo customers to close their accounts with the bank, which he predicts will get the banks to finally listen to the consumers.
"At a high level, [the campaign] is a message to all 'too big to fail' banks — they can't keep fleecing people," he told Forbes. "They do not have incentive to act in a responsible manner because they have the option of a bailout in their underwriting. This will send a message to end that type of behavior and allow Americans to really wake up and get a win and feel empowered."
As of September 30, Pham's Facebook post received more than 51,000 shares.
After a successful Close Your Account Day last week, Pham is organizing another day for October 15. He also thanked his supporters on Facebook for helping get his message out to a large audience.
"I bet my life and livelihood on the integrity of the American people and you didn't let me down," he wrote on Facebook.