The Latest: Another Wells Fargo CEO faces an angry Congress
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan’s testimony before Congress (all times local):
Some U.S. Senators questioning Wells Fargo’s CEO say an auto insurance scandal is an example of how the bank’s culture hasn’t changed.
Wells Fargo acknowledged earlier this year that it signed up tens of thousands of auto loan customers up for insurance they did not need, and some of those customers who could not afford the auto insurance had their cars repossessed.
That came after a scandal over millions of accounts created without customer knowledge as bank employees tried to meet aggressive sales targets.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, said “it was amazing” for Wells Fargo to claim it puts customers first when people’s cars were repossessed.
And Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota, expressed anger about the auto insurance scandal as well as the sales practices scandal. She said bank executives promise to look into situations and promise they care about customers. But she said, “I do not hear a level of cultural change that satisfies me today.”
A year later, it appears Congress remains united on at least one thing: its anger at Wells Fargo over a sales practices scandal.
Senators on both sides of the aisle expressed their continuing disappointment Tuesday as CEO Tim Sloan appeared before them, wondering whether one of the nation’s largest consumer banks has truly changed its culture a year after the sales practices were exposed.
Wells Fargo has said that 3.5 million accounts were potentially opened without customers’ permission between 2009 and 2016, as employees tried to meet ambitious sales targets. Sloan’s predecessor, John Stumpf, testified twice in front of Congress last fall and the scandal cost him his job.
Senator Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, said, “We are irritated at Wells Fargo. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a vocal critic of Wells Fargo, called for Sloan’s firing. She said, “At best you were incompetent, at worst you were complicit,” in the sales practices.
Wells Fargo’s chief executive will face Congress saying the bank remains “deeply sorry” for its previous sales practices, and that in the year since the scandal over them exploded it has substantially changed for the better.
The prepared comments from Tim Sloan come ahead of his scheduled appearance in front of the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, about a year since his predecessor did the same and was grilled about the sales practices.
Wells Fargo has said that 3.5 million accounts were potentially opened without customers’ permission between 2009 and 2016, as employees tried to meet ambitious sales targets. The scandal was the biggest in Wells Fargo’s history. Sloan’s predecessor, John Stumpf, testified twice in front of Congress last fall.