Published: Wed, October 04, 2017
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Wells Fargo boss makes case for his own dismissal

Wells Fargo boss makes case for his own dismissal

Chief Executive Timothy Sloan defended the bank's handling of its sales scandal and more recent consumer problems as the executive faced some tough questions and one call for his departure.

Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan faces grilling before the Senate Banking Committee as Wells Fargo continues to try to put its fake account scandal in the past.

But it wasn't enough to satisfy some of the bank's most vociferous critics. Sen.

Mr Sloan, who was appointed following the scandal over sales practices, said the firm had taken steps to improve.

Top News Tom Petty Memorial at Hollywood Walk of Fame David McNew  Getty Images
Top News Tom Petty Memorial at Hollywood Walk of Fame David McNew Getty Images

"I also want to be clear about another thing: Wells Fargo is a better bank today than it was a year ago", he said. By installing a new head of the company's community-banking division and replacing a compensation plan that incentivized staff for opening new accounts, "we're making fundamental changes in the company", he said.

Another senator asked if regulators should revoke the bank's charter. "Warren said", adding that she took statements out of context.

Sloan hinted that Wells Fargo may soon disclose more problems in yet another section of the bank. Some senators across the aisle acknowledged Mr. Sloan's visits to their offices in recent days before the hearing, a change of tone from the bank's hearings past year.

The hearing occurred about a year after Wells Fargo leaders appeared in Washington to speak about the fake accounts, which were used to boost sales figures. But it was Mr. Sloan's first time in front of the committee, housed Tuesday in a packed room of about 75 people in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

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Sloan has been on the job for a year, since the board of directors at the bank fired John Stumpf, the Pierz, Minn., native.

- Democratic and Republican senators criticized the bank's use of forced arbitration to settle disputes with customers and Sloan's role as a senior executive during the scandal.

"At best you were incompetent, at worst you were complicit", in the sales practices, Warren said.

"Mr. Sloan, you say you've been making changes at Wells Fargo for 30 years, but you enabled this fake account scam, you got rich off it, and then you tried to cover it up", said the MA senator. "We're not doing that", Sloan said.

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U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, seen as a possible 2020 presidential candidate, dismissed suggestions that Sloan could be an agent of change at the San Francisco-based bank and called for his firing.

"Limiting the number of times is good, but give them their day in court, " Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, ranking Democrat on the committee, said "it is no wonder the public doesn't trust our financial system".

The scandal was the biggest in Wells Fargo's history.

Pressure on the bank began to build again recently after Wells Fargo announced that the creation of fake accounts had gone on for far longer than it initially acknowledged and that it had found more than 1 million new potential cases.

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