UNF professors sounded alarm on unethical bank practices two years ago

By: Lorena Inclan , Action News Jax

Updated:

Two professors from the University of North Florida are sounding the alarm about unethical practices at major banks.

This comes after the recent Wells Fargo scandal in which thousands of employees created phony accounts. 

In their 2014 study titled "The Ying and Yang of Introducing a Sales Culture: The Amalgam Bank Case", professors Bruce Fortado and Paul Fadil detail the problems at a major U.S. bank, under the pseudonym amalgam, when it put pressure on employees to increase sales.

“If they didn't open three new accounts per day, they are chastised so basically they started opening fake accounts and this was 2005-2010,” Fadil said.

Fadil said they reached out to four or five different journals to get their study published but were turned away, until one finally took a chance.

“They wanted us to tone it down and we drew the line and said ‘no this is what we found we would like to report it as we found it.’ Today we look like prophets,” Fadil said.

Their study was not on Wells Fargo but Fadil was not surprised when he heard its employees were accused of opening up accounts without customers’ permission.

“As we look forward we really believe that this is the tip of the ice berg. I think you're going to see many, many more of these coming,” said Fadil.

According to Fadil, it comes down to ethics versus profits. He uses their study and case of Wells Fargo to teach his business management students a valuable lesson.

“I have a feeling that the ethical corporations and the ones that really care about the stakeholders are going to be here for the long haul,” Fadil said.

Banks and its executives should get more than just a slap on the wrist otherwise this culture will continue, Fadil said.

The best thing you can do as a customer, he said, is advocate for yourself.
 

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