Banking

Senator demands Wells Fargo CEO should be fired, criticizes his ‘big, fat raise’

Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan looks down as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., questions him during a Senate committee hearing in October 2017.
Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan looks down as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., questions him during a Senate committee hearing in October 2017. AP

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on Thursday launched a flurry of Tweets critical of Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan, including attacking higher pay the bank disclosed for the chief executive Wednesday.

The tweets from the Massachusetts Democrat, who has frequently condemned Wells since an unauthorized-accounts scandal in 2016, come after Wells disclosed Sloan was awarded $17.4 million in total compensation for his work last year.

That was up more than 35 percent, or $4.6 million, from what the bank’s board awarded Sloan for his work in 2016. The increase followed a year in which Wells continued to struggle with scandals. Last year, Wells disclosed problems with a growing list of products, from auto insurance to mortgages to identity theft protection.

“CEO Tim Sloan enabled the bank’s massive fake accounts scam, got rich off it, and helped cover it up. He should have been fired – instead, he just got a big, fat raise,” Warren said in one of four back-to-back tweets.

Wells Fargo declined to comment.

In another tweet, Warren linked to a Reuters story from Thursday reporting that U.S. regulators are preparing to sanction Wells for receiving commissions on auto insurance it helped force on more than half a million drivers. Reuters, citing people with direct knowledge of the probes, reported that while Wells in July blamed a vendor for the practice, the bank didn’t explain it received payouts when the policies were written.

“@WellsFargo is about to be sanctioned for running an auto insurance scam that cost Americans millions of dollars,” Warren said. “I don’t think that sort of corporate management merits a raise for CEO Tim Sloan.”

Wells Fargo said it declined to comment on any discussions with regulators.

It’s not the first time Warren has called for the ouster of Sloan since he was promoted in 2016 to replace John Stumpf, who abruptly retired following the unauthorized-accounts scandal. At the time, Sloan was serving as president and chief operating officer.

Warren told Sloan he should be fired during a hearing last year on the bank’s unauthorized-accounts scandal.

Warren also had urged Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen – before she stepped down this year – to remove Wells board members in place during the years when the fake-accounts scandal was taking place.

In February, on Yellen’s last day in office, the Fed slapped unprecedented restrictions on Wells’ growth for “widespread consumer abuses.” At the same time, the bank said it would be replacing four board members this year.

After the Fed’s action, Warren said the case for firing Sloan was “even stronger today.”

Wells Fargo has pointed to a growing list of steps it’s taken to improve its practices, including getting rid of product sales goals and making changes to its board.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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