Worst Company In America Round One: Wells Fargo Vs. Citi

Welcome to Day 2 of corporate carnage in the Worst Company In America Octagonal Steel Cage! Starting things off for today is another pair of bloodthirsty bankers out to prove they are just as astoundingly inept as any other business in the bracket.

Wells Fargo may look like it just stepped off a bus from the prairie, but don’t mistake this bruiser’s “aw shucks” facade just masks what must be a concerted effort to not give a good damn about customers.

Or maybe Wells changed its terms of service to prevent customers from suing the bank because it didn’t want you to get your hopes up that you’d win in court?

And perhaps it sent thousands of statements to the wrong addresses so that the world could share in customers’ joy of being a Wells Fargo patron?

Of course those fees Wells Fargo continues to test are really all about keeping you on your toes to make sure you’re reading your statement every month.

Or maybe it’s just a badly run business that merits a shot at the Golden Poo.

Then there’s Citi. Call it Citibank, Citigroup, Citimortgage or Citi Citi Bank Bank. This one’s a contender no matter what name you use.

It earned it’s spot in the WCIA bracket the old-fashioned way, by sucking in very, very public ways. Like having such bad security that hackers were able to steal credit card info for 360,000 Citi customers.

The bank also misled investors about the mortgage-backed securities they were buying, all while making a nice $160 million profit for themselves. And when Citi was caught by the SEC it managed to convince regulators it should only have to pay back $285 million — and not have to admit it did anything wrong.

Maybe Citi can pay that back using the nearly $500 billion in bailout money it received from taxpayers.

Neither of these brawlers made it out of the first round in 2011. But one of them is now destined to make the Sweet 16 where it will face the victor of yesterday’s battle between Bank of American and Chase.

So let’s bang a gong and get it on (with the voting):
(Voting for this poll will close at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 15)

This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2012 series. The companies competing for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. See the entire WCIA 2012 bracket and schedule of match-ups HERE.

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  1. Cat says:

    Four banks that did not pass the Fed’s hypothetical stress tests were Citi, Ally Financial, SunTrust and MetLife.

    Citi just can’t get it right, even after the $500 billion I loaned them.

  2. Rick Sphinx says:

    Wells Fargo, send extra money for a mortgage payment? They apply all the extra to the interest, not the principle! They paid a settlement for this in 2011, and they are still at it! Crooks.

    • CubeRat says:

      Sweety, you need to specify ‘principle only’ in the payment request. I’ve done this several times, and never had a problem. Yes, WF is the servicer; owned by Fannie.

      • George4478 says:

        I’ve always liked that Citimortgage assumes that extra payment is for the principle. You can mark it for interest or escrow, but otherwise they assume you’re paying off the balance which benefits you the most.

        • Dr. Shrinker says:

          Not MY Citimortgage….always, always, ALWAYS applied to interest no matter how many times or ways I tell them to apply it to principle. Even after calling and getting them to verify over the phone, it’s at best a 50/50 chance they’ll do it right. They are, simply, a bunch of crooks.

          • George4478 says:

            Really? I pay online from my bank and I provide no instructions about the extra payment; not a word. Every month it’s paid against principal. Been this way for years.

            Your experience of it never getting paid against principal is completely different from mine.

    • homehome says:

      and if you see it’s wrong call them and tell them to fix it. easy fix to the problem.

      I’m voting for citi, neither company is bad to me, it’s just citi is just worse.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    Two “banks” in the same round? How can you choose
    one or the other when both are equally guilty of heinous crimes.

  4. Power Imbalance says:

    This is a tough bracket!

  5. Karney says:

    Back when my (now) ex-wife ran up all my credit cards, most were close to maxed out but not completely.

    Citi lowered the limits of the one I had with them, which put my close-to-maxed out card over my limit and then started charging me overage fees. I never went over, they forced me over by lowering my limit. I will vote for them every year.

    Debt is all gone now though :D

    • caradrake says:

      Ugh! I can’t see how that can be legal. :(

    • caradrake says:

      I’d also like to add that I had no opinion with either bank, thankfully having never done business with either, but your story made me vote for Citi.

  6. Derigiberble says:

    I’m voting Wells Fargo just because of what they did to Wachovia’s customer service. I didn’t think a change of upper level management could make such a difference but wow did things go downhill in a hurry when they took over.

    • Marlin says:

      Yep everytime me or my wife went into a branch we were swarmed with sales people trying to get us to invest money, sign up for a new mortage, etc… Felt like I was in a bestbuy looking at TVs or computers.

    • George4478 says:

      Same here. I got caught in the fee hurricane a couple years back when every fee previously waived was reinstated, bit by bit.

      “Thanks for having the high deposit account with us for 25 years. Oh, and all those fees we said you don’t have to pay in exchange for keeping a $4000 balance — sucker! Welcome to Wells Fargo.”

  7. Marlin says:

    Just dropped Wells-Fargo for a CreditUnion.

    Voted Wells Fargo

    • longfeltwant says:

      I’m surprised WF is only at 38%. I think they are the clear winner, even against a monster like Citi.

      • tbax929 says:

        I couldn’t agree more. I thought WF was much more hated than Citi. I have no experience with either, but I voted WF because of stories I’ve read on Consumerist.

        As I read the comments, though, I understand why many are voting for Citi. I just had no idea they were that bad before I voted.

  8. Tegan says:

    As awful as Citi has been in the whole mortgage-backed securities scandal, I don’t feel right not voting for Wells Fargo after they pissed me off so badly last year that I finally switched banks. My debit card was stolen last summer and it took them over three weeks to get me a replacement card. It was the last straw after a long string of very unfortunate customer service experiences after them buying out Wachovia. So suck it, Wells Fargo!

  9. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    Voting Citi just for their annoying rock climber commercial that I can’t escape, even if I turn the TV off.

  10. Remmy75 says:

    I had to vote Wells for professional reasons. They messed something up so bad that they claimed would be transparent to us.

    Whenever someone says it will be transparent to me, i get the shakes!

  11. speaky2k says:

    I have Wells Fargo for all my banking… Due to the fact they took over Wachovia and bought my mortgage before that point. I actually don’t have an issue with them. But any time I saw anything confusing or wrong I went to my local bank and talked with a real person and we solved the problem easily. They helped me move money around to maximize my interest bearing accounts and I never have to pay fees because all my accounts are linked and between them I have more than enough to cover the fee minimum. My money for my mortgage is applied correctly because I still send a check and correctly fill in the boxes on how to apply how much money.
    I had a CITI credit card, low limit from college days, but I had issues several times and all those times they failed at fixing the issue without multiple complaints. One of those complaints was to raise my limit so that it would be closer to my other credit cards, long after graduating and maintaining good credit, they could only raise it from $400 to $600. I stopped using that card and eventually canceled it. So CITI is my vote.

  12. cybrczch says:

    Voting Wells Fargo, but only because I don’t do business with Citi.

  13. humphrmi says:

    I’m still going on a merry-go-round with Citi about this:

    About 5 years ago, I opened a savings account for my son at Citibank, as a child account under my main checking account.

    Sometime in the last 2 years, Citibank took it upon themselves to change the SSN associated with my joint checking account with my wife to my son’s ssn.

    Multiple attempts to resolve this have been fruitless. Whenever I try to link other accounts (that would help meet their minimum balance requirements and avoid fees) to my main account, they get rejected because of this mismatch. I usually end up getting emails from patronizing customer service reps extolling their absolute love for my customership, and then telling me that they can’t do anything for me and to go into a Citibank branch. Every time I go into a branch, I’m told the problem is solved.

    Rinse, repeat.

  14. Pete the Geek says:

    I voted for Wells Fargo because they forclosed on an elderly woman who didn’t have a mortgatge with them (I can’t find that article) and because of this awesome story:

    http://consumerist.com/2011/02/how-this-philly-homeowner-foreclosed-on-wells-fargo.html

  15. Torchwood says:

    Wells Farto for the win.

  16. echovictorecho says:

    Citi, for owning the next 3 years of my disposable income :P

  17. daemonaquila says:

    I’d vote for Citi, except that my foster son (who is mixed race) and several other non-white folks I know, have been mistreated by Wells Fargo staff. Some examples: refusing a deposit of an insurance settlement and alleging it was a forgery, without ever looking at the check or giving a reason for the belief, ignoring a person waiting to see a banker for some time while going directly to the white person who just came in, refusing to provide a bank check for even half the money in a good-sized account (about $10,000 in this instance) so a person could change banks, then jerking him around about when and how they would be willing to release the funds, etc. Really disgusting behavior.

  18. Sarge1985 says:

    Citi all the way.

  19. Elle86 says:

    Both are equally terrible in my eyes, but Citi got my vote because of their underhanded billing practices.

  20. AttackCat says:

    Now I have Ace Ventura singing the Chitty Bang Bang song in my head, with the lyrics “Citi Bank Bank, Citi Citi Bank Bank…” Thanks. :P

  21. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Didn’t we have a place to click last time to vote? How are we doing it? I’m sorry, I’ve been job hunting and am not reading closely.

  22. Squeezer99 says:

    Wells Fargo for sure. Atleast I can make money off of Citi by churning credit card sign up bonuses. Wells Fargo can’t do anything for me.

  23. Chmee says:

    Had to vote Citi. They’re the servicer on my mortgage. My escrow requirement went up (doesn’t it always?). Their solution? Take it from my next regular payment, then tell me I’m late on my mortgage, charge me late charges and fees. (in case you were going to suggest it, yes, I filed a complaint with the US Comptroller office. I won’t hold my breath on that one though)

    Fail the Stress Test? Hah, I hope they simply fail. Fracking banksters.

  24. JLyles says:

    It’s absolutely Citigroup.

    They also have a bad way of handling their Credit Card insurance claims that have put many people in dire straights.

    Chase is also that bad with CC insurance.