Former teller questions Wells Fargo decisions
FRISCO – Most of the 15 tellers who were fired from Wells Fargo last week say their lawyers have told them not to talk about the circumstances surrounding their departures.
But at least one former teller isn’t happy that a bank official alleged to be responsible for training the tellers improperly – which led to their dismissals – is still working at the bank. Gayle Reid, of Frisco, a Wells Fargo teller who left the bank this year for unrelated reasons, declined to name the managers who trained the tellers.
Tellers said they were fired after an internal investigation revealed that many of them were “force balancing” their cash drawers. A teller forces a cash drawer to balance by putting money in the drawer to make up for a shortfall. In the case of the Summit County Wells Fargo tellers, that money came from coins customers left at the teller windows and set aside for such a use.
It’s not typical banking practice, although Wells Fargo spokeswoman Cristie Drumm declined to elaborate on the bank’s cash-drawer-balancing procedures, saying it’s an internal procedure and that the company’s policy prohibits them from talking about internal policies.
Reid, a Wells Fargo employee since 1997 who quit working for the bank on May 9 this year, said the tellers were merely doing what they were trained to do.
“I feel sorry for the tellers,” Reid said. “I really thought they’d be put on some written warning and that’d be the end of it. I can’t believe the bank would fire their whole staff.”
Tellers from other Wells Fargo branches are helping out at the three Summit County banks, all of which are open for business.
Drumm, who was appointed vice president of the Denver branches June 3, declined to elaborate on the incident.
“There is no additional information I can give you on this situation,” she said. “Obviously, it’s been very difficult, and we understand everyone’s concern – we’ve been very concerned as well. But this is a confidential matter, and as a matter of policy, we don’t share confidential information about our team members.”
Reid said she was disappointed that Drumm and other Wells Fargo officials didn’t deny reports of fraud and embezzlement some people allege took place at the bank.
“It’s appalling that she (Drumm) wouldn’t say there wasn’t any money stolen,” Reid said. “If she didn’t care about employees, they should have at least cared about the customers.”
Reid claims bank managers knew tellers were force-balancing their cash drawers. She said a teller’s drawer was once off by 25 cents, and the branch manager told the teller, “I’m going to turn my head – go ahead and fix it.”
“That’s coming from the top,” Reid said, adding that she and at least two other tellers told investigators who it was that started the force-balancing procedures at the Frisco branch – and that those managers are still employed by the bank.
Although she wasn’t among those fired last week, Reid is concerned primarily because she is hearing talk of the incident around town.
“I’m affected by it,” she said. “I left before this all happened, but I’m looking for a job, and people hear I worked for Wells Fargo, and they’re like, “stay away.'”
She and others would like to work out the problem with Wells Fargo officials, Reid said, but bank managers stopped returning phone calls from tellers when they learned the former employees had retained attorneys.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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