That’s according to a report in the Wall Street Journal that reported the bank has been in cost-cutting mode for nearly nine months and has been focused on reforming the culture of the sales team. Now, investors, analysts and some employees want the bank to focus on growing the business again. The goal is being complicated by low interest rates and a U.S. economy that is sluggish, reported the paper. “If you turn the clock back 10 years ago, we were in an environment where the economy was growing more quickly and revenues, candidly, were a little bit easier to come by,” Chief Executive Timothy Sloan said during an investor conference last week, the Wall Street Journal reported. The paper noted that since the fall, revenue at Wells Fargo has fallen for the first time in year, and its shares are the worst performing of the big four publicly traded U.S. banks both in 2017 and since the U.S. election in November.
A Wells Fargo spokeswoman said in the report that the bank has a diversified business model and strong, steady results, as well as opportunities in its wholesale, wealth and investment management, and consumer businesses. In response to the fake account scandal Wells Fargo overhauled competition in the retail sales department, and as a result, many of the 75,000 retail bank employees feel restricted with the new way of doing business. What’s more, some employees are concerned that there isn’t a clear way to drive new business. One executive said questions among employees include: “How am I going to grow the business … with these constraints? How do I do it in a way that doesn’t appear to be sales pressure?” the paper reported. Speaking at an industry conference last week, Sloan said it would take time for the company’s post-scandal strategy to succeed. “You don’t just roll out a plan to 75,000 people and say, ‘Good luck,’ right?” he said. “There is a lot of management that is required to make sure that that plan is in place.”