Wells Fargo Business Checking Review

10.13.10


Recently I incorporated. After incorporating one of the most important things you can do as a business is set up a bank account. Since we’ve been customers of two banks who have been taken over by the feds, I heeded my friend Lolita’s advice, and went to set up a business account somewhere that I don’t have a personal checking account.

I went to Wells Fargo.

I walked in and sat down with a banker and we talked about the different checking options they had for me. She explained that if I got a checking account and a savings account and there was $100 transferred from checking to savings each month I could have the accounts free. “No thank you.” I told her, “I see that as a recipe for disaster. What if I don’t work every month?” She explained that she could set it up so that $100 was transferred back every month on the same day, she told me people do it all the time. I should trust her, she said. I asked for my paperwork back, she said, “Just a moment.”

She continued typing and then explained to me that she could offer me free business checking, it was very simple. I sat back in my seat and relaxed while she typed some more. She asked me to sign my name on a little electronic pad, twice, and I did. And then she told me all about the accounts she could offer me since I held a mortgage with them.

“This is a corporation and not my personal banking, there’s no reason for it to be linked with my mortgage.” I told her.

“If your social security number is on it they are automatically linked.” She replied.

“But my social security number shouldn’t BE on it. It’s a corporation and there’s an FEIN number for that.” I fairly screamed at her.

She shrugged and dialed a number, and then handed me the phone. A gentleman on the other end explained to me that this happens all the time and I’d just have to set up my online banking so that a CPA or bookkeeper wouldn’t see certain parts of the linked accounts.

Linked accounts.

I set up a corporation so that my family’s finances wouldn’t be linked to my business, and setting up a checking account with Wells Fargo was about to link them together permanently.

“I really need to leave now.” I said to her, “Can I please have my paperwork back?”

“I need to give you your checks first.” She said.

“I’m not going to be setting up the account.” I said, “It doesn’t really suit my needs.”

“You already did.” She deadpanned.

Apparently the signatures on the little electronic pad automatically insert your signature into a contract and set up accounts for you. I AM NOT KIDDING. Apparently this “banker” had set up both a savings and checking acocunt for me without my ever having seen a piece of paper, a contract or a flier.

Between clenched teeth I muttered. “Undo it. Now.”

“If I do that it counts against me. Twice.” She opened her eyes extra wide and fluttered her glittered lashes at me.

“That’s going to suck for you then.” And then I raised my voice loud enough for the people waiting in line to hear, “How dare you open an account in my name without my express permission. On what planet do banks open up accounts without presenting people with paperwork? And since we’re at it this isn’t a personal account, it’s a corporate account and you’re trying to ruin me financially so you can get a fifty cent bonus…”

And then the manager showed up.

And the accounts were closed.

But it was an hour of my life, and it could have been financially devastating.

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16 responses to “Wells Fargo Business Checking Review”

  1. GreenInOC says:

    Call Farmers & Merchants. They are a small and healthy bank, and, get this, when you call a branch, you are actually speaking with the employees of THAT branch!

    You would only have to make the trek once to set-up the account and then from that everything could be handled online, emails and phone calls. That’s right, they’ll give you their email addresses!!

    http://k2.secure-banking.com/1285b.cfm?ID=1285b&PAGEID=0709130102749040&FRAME=0

  2. Jack says:

    The banks are populated by incompetent and self serving idiots. Their inability or unwillingness to understand that their irresponsible behavior has serious consequences is mind blowing.

    Wells Fargo has been particularly bad, or at least my experience with them has been.

  3. Jaimie says:

    I had a horrible experience at a bank recently trying to set up our new joint account. It was awful. But not nearly that bad. I would have done the same thing.

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  5. Wow. What an awful experience. I actually felt my own blood pressure rising when I read your post. First Minnesota is a smaller bank with personal service. You might check if there are any branches near you.

  6. YvonneinLA says:

    I wish I had talked to you before you bothered with Wells Fargo. I have my business account with them and it’s been a hassle since the beginning. I’ve had that same conversation with several different people that I don’t want my business and personal accounts linked. Every time, but maybe twice, that I’ve gone in to make a deposit in my business account they put it in our personal account. We recently closed our personal account and I’m soon to close my business account. And don’t get me started on the online service.

  7. dave says:

    Not to be nit-picky … but why would you sign the keypad without asking them what it was for?

    Still, it’s all sales oriented and that means getting lied to as far as the law will ignore. Yuk!

  8. That is horrible! And not surprising at all, unfortunately.

    You are, once again, my hero(ine) for standing up and doing the right thing. And for saving me the trouble of even walking in the door to Wells Fargo.

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  10. I had a really unpleasant banking experience as well.

    I don’t understand how she could set up a biz account for a corporation without handing over a banking resolution that. If I recall correctly all of the officers need to sign off on this.

    It’s interesting how often we are assured that’s it’s okay to sign this or that and when we take time to figure out or read what we are signing, the person asking us to sign off gets impatient because after all “it’s okay.”

  11. Veronica says:

    This left me borderline speechless. Thank you for this post. This is completely unacceptable. I am SO glad you stood your ground.

  12. Matthew says:

    I have had my personal accounts at WF for more than 10 years now and have had only one or two gripes about it.

    Recently my wife opened a business account there, since that is were we bank, cause she has her own embroidery business does from home while taking care of our kids. Last week she made a deposit the same time she made a deposit in our personal account. The deposit in the personal account went through just fine, but the deposit was gone the next day that was done on the business account. She called and got everything straightened out, so we thought. Tuesday, it was gone again, but by 9am CST it magically reappeared. This morning it was gone for the third time. And a little later it showed back up. Needless to say I am going with her this afternoon and we are closing the business account for now. If they give me the run around I am gonna close all my accounts with them and go somewhere else. We are very displeased.

  13. pissed off at wells fargo says:

    The same thing happened to me. I went through the drive threw and made a deposit, asked about their promotional ponies, was told I had to open a NEW account. The head teller said I can set it up and just come in and sign the paperwork. I said NO, I do not have time. Long story short 3 weeks later I received a letter from them with additional account numbers, only to find out, she opened TWO accounts in my name, savings and checking. I NEVER signed anything. I got a copy of the application, and it has my OLD information on it from 10 years ago when I opened my original account. I asked to see the signature card and have yet to receive it. This is FRAUD and misuse of personal information. What else is Wells Fargo capable of doing with there customers personal information??????

  14. concerned says:

    If you have had a similar experience as the author of this blog at the bank she mentions or any other bank, I encourage you to contact manager of the manger of the bank in question in writing and over the phone.  Discussing your experience with the branch manager at many banks will likely not generate significant results.  The branch manager, and even their manager (the one you want to contact), receive a bonus based upon new accounts opened at their branch.  Many banker’s roles at your local bank locations are sales positions.  They are not to behave as the banker did with the blog author.  Many mangers will look the other way to meet goals to get bonuses.  This is similar to what hapened in the real estate boom/bust.  Customers did not follow through with complaints to report trouble employees.  It then becomes the norm.  Please take the extra time to report trouble employees.  It will help you and others for your future transactions.

  15. Adrian says:

    This doesn’t surprise me one bit. I went to another Wells Fargo to open a student checking account and I was bombarded with all sorts of up sells, from credit cards to student loans. Every time I went in to talk about an issue, it would take 1/2 hour to be seen and then I was offered more products/services that I didn’t need. I finally closed my account after dealing with their fees. Wells Fargo has got to be the one of the worst banks (the worst if Bank of America). I can’t fathom why anybody would want those thieves handling their hard earned money.

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