In an email sent to customers on Wednesday, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf acknowledged “recent news” that the bank opened unwanted accounts and said the conduct was “simply not acceptable.”
Stumpf said the bank is taking steps to make things right, including reimbursing affected customers. The bank is also changing the way employees in its retail bank are compensated so they are “always aligned with our customers’ interests,” he writes.
“Last week’s news did not reflect Wells Fargo at its best,” Stumpf wrote. “Your trust and confidence in us is something we hold near and dear.”
The San Francisco-based bank agreed last week to pay $185 million in fines to settle claims of wrongdoing in its sales practices. Regulators said the bank’s employees engaged in a “widespread illegal practice” by secretly opening more than 2 million deposit and credit card accounts that may not have been authorized by customers to meet sales goals.
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On Tuesday, the bank announced that it will eliminate sales goals for retail bankers Jan. 1 in a move the bank said is intended to assure customers that the bank is acting in their best interest.
The bank neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing in the settlement, but on Friday ran full-page newspaper ads apologizing for its actions. Stumpf had not spoken publicly about the matter until Tuesday, when he conducted interviews on CNBC and elsewhere.
He will face more questions Tuesday before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee.