Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., grilled Wells Fargo CEO John G. Stumpf on Tuesday during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill over a scandal on fake accounts and fraud within the bank.
Wells Fargo opened some 2 million fake accounts in customers’ names, with certain executives receiving increased pay while some 5,000 Wells Fargo employees were fired. Tuesday’s hearing focused on the sales tactics known as “clawbacks,” according to the Washington Post. Warren questioned Stumpf on cross-selling, which he says is about relationships with the customers; she argues its about increasing stock prices.
Warren asked Stumpf if the bank had fired any senior managers — “the people who actually led community banking division, who oversaw this fraud, or the compliance division that was in charge of making sure that the bank complied with the law” — or returned any money to customers. Stumpf replied no one has been fired.
Warren is known for her anti-Wall Street stances — and CNBC notes she is one of very few senators on the panel who hasn’t received a check from Wells Fargo’s political arm.
Watch her rail against Stumpf here in the committee hearing, where she said Stumpf was at the helm of “gutless leadership” at Wells Fargo:
Warren, in her remarks, also called for Stumpf’s resignation and called for a criminal investigation into him and his bank’s executives.
“This is about accountability,” Warren said. “You should resign, you should give back the money you took while this scam was going on and you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
In his prepared remarks, Stumpf apologized, saying, “I am deeply sorry that we failed to fulfill our responsibility to our customers, to our team members, and to the American public,” according to CNN.
He also said the Wells Fargo situation “wasn’t a scam, and cross-selling is a way of deepening relationships,” according to CNBC.