A Commitment To Diversity (That We Can Pay For)

For the last three years I’ve been pursued by a branch manager at Merrill Lynch. He’s been dogged, I’ll give him that.

After each time phone conversation that ended with ‘no’, I could count on some puff piece in the mail two days later about how the herd at Merrill was still thundering. He told me he had big plans for his branch, that he was a lifer for Merrill — ready to go to hell and back for the firm (and probably did these last three years). One of my friends grew smitten. I warned him, never fall in love with a branch manager — they’ll be gone in 5 years. And sure enough, about 6 months ago there was radio silence.

The manager wasn’t at Merrill anymore. He’d jumped to Wells Fargo.

And the propaganda started to flow once again:



















But this latest puff piece really bothered me. Here’s why:

If you read that letter you probably thought, wow — this place sounds really committed. Aside from the cheesy CEO statement, they’ve won a ton of awards.

Here’s the crazy part  — the first 4 awards they highlight are from Diversity Inc. Magazine, which happens to be a publication that Wells Fargo is a major sponsor for. They are also a major sponsor the Hispanic Business Magazine & The LatinaStyle Magazine. So 42% of all these awards are arguably bought and paid for. And if you focus the list on the actual awards for diversity among minorities, it’s more like 100% of the awards are from sources where Wells Fargo is a major sponsor. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but it still makes me cringe. Maybe money can buy love.