Bank Watch

Wells Fargo CEO Stumpf being asked to testify at another hearing

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf is being called to testify at another hearing before members of Congress over the bank’s sales practices that led to a $185 million fine this month.
Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf is being called to testify at another hearing before members of Congress over the bank’s sales practices that led to a $185 million fine this month. mhames@charlotteobserver.com

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf may have another date with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said Friday that the panel has launched an investigation into regulators’ claims Wells Fargo employees opened millions of accounts that may not have been authorized by customers to meet sales goals.

The committee said in a statement Friday that Stumpf is being asked to testify sometime later this month.

In a statement, Wells Fargo said it welcomes “the opportunity to provide the committee with information on this matter and to discuss steps we have taken to affirm our commitment to customers.”

The hearing is the latest inquiry into the bank’s sales practices, which led to regulators assessing $185 million in fines this month. On Tuesday, Stumpf is set to appear before the Senate Banking Committee, and federal prosecutors in Charlotte and San Francisco are in the early stages of an investigation. Meanwhile, the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office is “concerned and monitoring the situation closely,” a spokeswoman told the Observer Friday.

In a letter to Wells Fargo general counsel James Strother, Hensarling also asked the bank to make four top executives available for interviews with committee staff this month. That list includes Carrie Tolstedt, who oversaw Wells Fargo’s retail-banking operations, where the alleged practices took place. Earlier this summer, Tolstedt announced plans to retire at the end of this year.

Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry, President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Sloan and Chief Risk Officer Michael Loughlin are the other executives on the list.

“The committee is very concerned by these serious allegations and is investigating Wells Fargo’s questionable sales practices and corresponding agreements with federal regulators ...” the letter says.

The letter also asks Wells Fargo to provide all records relating to the sales practices that the bank gave the regulators who fined it. The letter asks for the records to be supplied by Sept. 23.

Membership of the committee includes three Republican lawmakers from the Charlotte area: Vice Chairman Patrick McHenry, Mick Mulvaney and Robert Pittenger.

In a statement, Pittenger said he appreciates the positive contributions Wells Fargo employees make in the Charlotte community. “However, the serious allegations of fraudulent accounts warrant oversight from the House Financial Services Committee.”

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

  Comments