Sunday, February 08, 2009

Standing up, Wells Fargo joins JPM

Thank goodness another bank CEO is standing up, on solid ground(excuse me Ken Lewis), against the tirade the media leads against banks in general. Wells Fargo's full page advertisement in the New York Times today reacted to the media hysteria over its employee rewards events. As you know, these annual events for rank and file employees were canceled due to the faux populist criticism that's poisoning any realistic dialogue about this financial crisis. John Stumpf, CEO of Wells, made it clear that these events have a history of motivating good performance and recognition of employees from tellers to mid-managers who give great customer service. I guess the "Las Vegas" tag line for one of the events was the media hook, and then things took off. The self righteous media had a field day, and a solid institution lost one of its traditions.

It should be remembered that Wells Fargo and JPM were the two major financial institutions who were prevailed upon to take TARP money so other huge institutions would not be singled out for being in trouble. That was to forestall a liquidity crisis at others, but it was so transparent that it was a joke. For this joke Wells and JPM get the same regulation and harassment as institutions that were massively mismanaged. At a minimum, it seems that the media's job is to get to the bottom of these obvious situations and report it fairly rather than to jump on to any possible negative that could increase the indignation of viewers, readers, and googlers, and one would presume their audience in these times. Is that kind of hypocrisy possible. Well look at Congress for that answer.

Hats off to Wells Fargo for taking a stand that they will probably just take heat for, just because it was the right thing for them to say and for their employees to hear.


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