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Massachusetts Sen. #ElizabethWarren grilled #WellsFargo CEO John Stumpf on Tuesday for his role in a widespread scheme in which thousands of bankers opened more than 2 million accounts for customers without them knowing over at least five years. “You should resign. You should give back the money you took while this scam was going on and you should be criminally investigated,” Warren told Stumpf, after he admitted under Warren’s grilling he hadn’t yet been held personally accountable for the actions of his employees.
The Democratic senator also forced Stumpf, who was under questioning from the Senate banking committee over his bank’s handling of the scam, to admit that no senior executives have been held accountable for the actions of the low-level bankers.
Some forged signatures and committed identity theft to open fraudulent bank accounts, while under pressure to meet sales targets or be fired. These employees, Stumpf explained earlier in the committee hearing, were “well-paid,” making between $30,000 and $60,000 a year. Stumpf made $19.3 million in 2015. “This just isn’t right,” Warren said. “You squeezed employees to the breaking point” to drive up the stock price and your compensation, she said, referencing the bank’s fierce drive to “cross-sell” or make customers open up multiple accounts. “You went on television to blame thousands of $12-an-hour” workers. “It’s gutless leadership,” Warren said.
Last week Stumpf in a televised interview appeared to blame low-level workers for this behavior, which was widespread throughout the bank ― 5,300 employees were fired for their involvement.
A cashier who “steals a handful of $20s” is held accountable, Warren said. Bank executives aren’t. “The only way #WallStreet will change will be if executives face jail time” for criminal behavior, she said. In the Wells Fargo scandal, people were mistakenly charged fees, saw their credit ratings fall, got credit cards in the mail they never asked for or just were confused. Source: huffingtonpost.com