On Friday, September 9, 2016, my law partner, Ron Sykstus, blogged about a shocking announcement that Wells Fargo Bank had received the largest fine ever imposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This fine was imposed for the banking practice of “cross-selling” that led to thousands of Wells Fargo employees creating fake accounts in their customers’ names in order to meet steep sales quotas imposed by Wells Fargo management.
“Gutless Leadership” by Wells Fargo CEO
Since the CFPB announcement the story has gone viral. Wells Fargo CEO, John Stumpf, was called to Capitol Hill yesterday to account to the United States Senate Banking Committee. In what can only be described as remarkable in this day and time, Mr. Stumpf endured the scathing indictment of both Democratic and Republican lawmakers for his bank’s actions. But none led the charge more valiantly for the working people of American than did Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts. Here is a video of Senator Warren’s questioning of Mr. Stumpf. Senator Warren pulled no punches, asking “Have you returned one nickel of the money that you earned while this scandal was going on? Have you fired any senior management, the people who actually oversaw this fraud?” When Mr. Stumpf answered “No”, Senator Warren lowered the boom stating:
“Evidently your definition of accountable is to push the blame to your low-level employees who don’t have the money for a fancy PR firm to defend themselves. Its gutless leadership. You should resign; you should give back the money.”
The money being referred to by Warren is the more than 200 million dollars John Stumpf allegedly earned on his personal Wells Fargo stock holdings during the time this fraud was being committed. While 5300 low-level bank employees have been fired from Wells for engaging in this practice, Carrie Tolstedt, the top Wells Fargo executive in charge of these employees, has been allowed to retire with millions in compensation. In the words of Elizabeth Warren, this just isn’t right.
If you believe you have been a victim of the creation of a false account at Wells Fargo Bank or subject to fraudulent charges, please contact one of our locations nearest you in Alabama, Mississippi or Tennessee for a free, confidential consultation.
Carla M. Handy is the Managing Partner of the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Gadsden and Anniston, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Auburn University, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Alabama School of Law. She has been helping families navigate consumer bankruptcy cases since 1994.Read her full bio here.