I can't seem to get the Simple Deform (Bend) modifier to work correctly

I am attempting to use the simple deform modifier to bend the default cube around an empty.

I elongated the cube along one axis so it is long and thin. I added loop cuts along all axes so it would have enough geometry to bend. I made sure that all scales were applied in object mode. I then added an empty to serve as the origin. I added the simple deform modifier set to bend around the z axis and the result I get is as follows:

What is happening here? This is supposed to be simple right?

I can only conclude that there is some setting or something that I have ticked to cause it not to work correctly. I have switched the axis to the Y axis and it seemed like it wants to bend, correctly, but why not on the z axis?

Blend file attached.

Test Bend.blend (839.7 KB)

Well, I have never found it simple! :rofl:
Rotate you cube 90º on the z axis and it should work how you expect.
Edit: or rotate the empty.

It’s best to always add an empty and use that to set the bend axis. always. I used to think this was unique to blender but bending in maya has similar annoyance

I played with it based on what people were saying.
Test Bend.blend (273.3 KB)

Turn on the axis view for the object, than you can see what happens. It bends around the object origin axis. Depending how the mesh is relative to the origin it bends and distort in an unwanted way. For example the right one looks weird because it bends in it self.