Business Bureau has disowned

download-33For more than 100 years, Wells Fargo has been ubiquitous in San Francisco. The City by the Bay is the bank’s hometown and Wells Fargo is one of its largest employers. There is even a museum in the city dedicated to the stagecoach Wells Fargo once used to cross the Western Plains.

Next week, San Francisco officials are scheduled to vote on whether to cut off business with Wells Fargo, in perhaps one of the most personal rebukes the bank has faced since acknowledging that it fired 5,300 employees for setting up unauthorized accounts customers didn’t want to meet aggressive sales goals.

“It’s disheartening to see our hometown bank was engaged in this sort of reckless behavior,” said John Avalos, a member of the city’s Board of Supervisors.

And San Francisco is not alone. California, Illinois and Massachusetts have all taken steps to suspend ties with the bank, one of the largest in the world. Ohio Gov. John Kasich said “Wells Fargo’s culture was compromised by greed” when he announced the state would stop doing business with the bank for a year. “This company has lost the right to do business with the State of Ohio because its actions have cost it the public’s confidence,” Kasich said.

The bank also lost its Better Business Bureau accreditation. The 100-year old organization cited the sales scandal among the reasons for pulling its seal of approval from Wells Fargo after more than 35 years. But the bureau has also has received more than 4,000 complaints about the bank over the last three years and of 107 customer reviews it has received, all but four were negative.

“It means they no longer meet the standards of trust,” said Jarrod Wise, a spokesman for the Better Business Bureau in the San Francisco Bay area. “They no longer qualify for accreditation.”

It is just the last embarrassing episode for Wells Fargo. More than a month after it agreed to an $185 million fine and acknowledged that for at least five years thousands of employees set up sham accounts customers didn’t want, sometimes by moving money from an authorized account, Wells Fargo is still struggling to contain the damage.