Tim Sloan appeared in front of the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, D.C., about a year since his predecessor did the same to try to explain how employees trying to meet ambitious sales goals created millions of accounts without customers knowing about or authorizing them. "Either way, you should be fired".
Washington senators have criticised Wells Fargo, saying the United States bank had not done enough to reform the corporate culture that led to the creation of millions of fake accounts. The settlement of the sales practices last year revealed that Wells Fargo over a five-year period had fired 5,300 employees for what it said was improper behavior.
Regulators fined the the bank more than $180m over the practices past year.
"Wells Fargo is not going to change with you in charge", Warren told Sloan during the hearing.
"If that (report) is true, it directly contradicts your testimony to this committee", Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen told Sloan, who responded that he would look into the case.Wells Fargo is fighting some customers in court for now, company spokeswoman Jennifer Dunn said, but the bank has made a $142 million settlement offer to settle all disputes arising from the scandal, which erupted a year ago."As Tim emphasized today, Wells Fargo is committed to making things right with our customers", Dunn said.Senators also flagged problems involving the bank's auto insurance and mortgage fees that came to light months after Wells Fargo disclosed the phony accounts. The senator pointed to quarterly earnings calls, which she said showed that Sloan - who was then the company's CFO - aggressively promoted Wells Fargo's ability to open new accounts for customers.
"At best, you were incompetent", she continued.
The attacks weren't confined to Democrats.
Since last fall, Wells has changed its sales practices, ousted other executives and called tens of millions of customers to check on whether they truly opened the accounts.
"I'm not against large; I'm happy when businesses are successful", Kennedy said. "With all due respect, I'm against dumb". "If there is a problem, we want to hear about it", he said.
"Why should we believe you're committed to changing your bank's practices and being fair to customers", he asked, "when you continue to use that behind-closed-doors arbitration system that clearly doesn't allow customers their day in court?"
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown was one of several Democrats to focus on the common bank practice of forcing customers into private arbitration to settle disputes.
Even after the fraudulent-accounts scandal broke, Wells Fargo has barred customers from taking their claims to court-citing mandatory arbitration clauses within its customer service contracts.
Sloan reviewed myriad efforts to compensate affected customers, change payment incentives and better train employees.