Wells Fargo is taking a new hit for its sales scandal, coming in last on a widely watched ranking of the most respected companies in America.
The San Francisco-based bank scored 100th in the annual report by Barron’s, which compiles the rankings from surveys of professional investors. Companies in the report are the largest in the U.S. based on the combined value of their outstanding shares, with Apple the biggest and brokerage firm Charles Schwab the smallest.
Wells Fargo, which previously ranked 60th, now falls below tobacco giants such as Philip Morris International (99th) and Reynolds American (96th).
Wells Fargo also now ranks lower than General Motors, whose image has been battered by an ignition-switch scandal; and Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, which has weathered sexual harassment allegations against former host Bill O’Reilly and former chief executive Roger Ailes.
In a statement, Wells Fargo spokesman Mark Folk noted the actions Wells has taken to turn itself around, following September’s revelations that employees opened more than 2 million accounts that may not have been authorized by consumers. Such actions include eliminating product sales goals for retail bankers last October.
“Our top priority is to rebuild trust in our company, and we have taken decisive actions to fix the problems, make things right for customers, and build a better Wells Fargo,” Folk said.
The report, released this month, is based on responses from more than 100 investors surveyed over the prior six weeks, Barron’s said. Investors were asked to pick one of the following statements to describe how they felt about each company: “highly respect,” “respect,” “respect somewhat” and “don’t respect.”
Wells Fargo received 54 “don’t respect” votes, the most by far of any company on this year’s list, Barron’s said. As recently as 2015, Wells Fargo ranked No. 7 on the report. Wells has touted its inclusion on the list in the past.
Topping this year’s report is Google parent Alphabet, whose first-place ranking is an improvement from No. 9 last year. Tech giant Apple ranks second, up one notch from last year.
Noteworthy, the 2017 survey marks a shift from past reports, which had polled investors on the 100 largest publicly traded companies in the world.