Bank Watch

Wells Fargo CEO, regulators set to testify at Sept. 20 Senate hearing

A U.S. Senate committee is expected to hold a hearing next Tuesday on Wells Fargo sales practices that led employees to secretly sign customers up for accounts.
A U.S. Senate committee is expected to hold a hearing next Tuesday on Wells Fargo sales practices that led employees to secretly sign customers up for accounts. AFP/Getty Images

A U.S. Senate committee announced late Tuesday that a Sept. 20 hearing on Wells Fargo’s sales practices will include testimony from the bank’s CEO, John Stumpf, and top regulators.

The Senate Banking Committee hearing is entitled “An Examination of Wells Fargo’s Unauthorized Accounts and the Regulatory Response,” the panel’s chairman, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said.

Tom Curry, the Comptroller of the Currency, and Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, are also scheduled to testify at the session, which is set to begin at 10 a.m.

Five Democratic members of the committee asked Shelby on Monday to hold immediate hearings following Wells Fargo’s agreement last week to pay $185 million in fines to regulators and the city and county of Los Angeles.

Wells Fargo reached the settlement to resolve claims that its employees opened more than 2 million deposit and credit card accounts that may not have been authorized by consumers. The San Francisco-based bank, which has its largest employment base in Charlotte, did not admit or deny the allegations.

In a letter to Shelby, the five senators said the “magnitude of this situation warrants thorough and comprehensive review.”

“We should accept nothing less than a full and transparent explanation of what went wrong, who is responsible, how to fix it, and how to prevent such fraud in the future,” reads the letter, which says the hearing should include testimony from Stumpf.

A spokesperson for Wells Fargo confirmed the bank will attend the hearing but didn’t comment further. In an interview Tuesday with The Wall Street Journal, Stumpf said he is prepared to “share Wells Fargo’s story” at the hearing.

On Tuesday, Wells Fargo announced that it’s eliminating sales goals for retail bankers starting Jan. 1.

Speaking at a banking conference in New York on Tuesday, Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry said the move is intended to make certain Wells Fargo’s customers have “the full confidence” that the bank is acting in their best interests.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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