Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) doesn’t deserve a lot of credit for the way it’s handled the fallout from its fake-account scandal, which came to light last September, but the bank is trying to make things right. To this end, every month Wells Fargo reports nearly two dozen metrics that shed light on the latest activity in its retail branches.

It’s doing so to be transparent, and presumably to show that it no longer emphasizes cross-sales in its branches, the practice which is widely believed to have caused the scandal in the first place. Two metrics in particular stick out: New checking-account openings dropped 35% last month compared to the year-ago period; consumer credit card applications were down 42%.


March 2017

Change from March 2016

Total branch interactions

54.8 million


Consumer checking-account openings



Consumer checking-account closings



Credit card applications



Debit card transactions

$5.8 billion


Last month wasn’t an anomaly, either. The magnitude of the drop has been consistent over the past few months. In January, for instance, new-account openings fell on a year-over-year basis by 31%, while credit card applications were off by 47%.

These numbers belie claims by former CEO John Stumpf that the bank hadn’t previously disclosed the scandal in regulatory filings because its executives didn’t anticipate the fallout to be sufficiently material, which would trigger its duty to disclose.

Numbers like these also illuminate how much Wells Fargo depended on cross-selling to generate new checking and credit card accounts. Given that these numbers have dropped so far, one can’t help but wonder how…