Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., told Wells Fargo President and CEO Timothy Sloan on Tuesday that he should be fired and renewed her call to the Federal Reserve to remove all of the bank’s board members who served during the fake-accounts scandal.
“You enabled this fake-accounts scam and you covered it up,” Warren said to Sloan during a Senate Banking Committee hearing titled “Wells Fargo: One Year Later.”
“At best you were incompetent, at worst you were complicit,” Warren said to Sloan. “Either way, you should be fired.”
Wells Fargo “needs to start over, and that won’t happen until the bank rids itself of people like you who led it into this crisis,” she told Sloan, a 30-year veteran of the bank who served as its chief financial officer when it was revealed that the bank created millions of fake accounts and collected unnecessary fees from clients.
Sloan responded to Warren by stating: “Since I’ve become CEO, I’ve made fundamental changes to address the issues that we’re talking about today.”
During his testimony, Sloan, who took over as CEO after former Wells Fargo chief John Stumpf resigned last year, told the lawmakers that he is “deeply sorry for letting down our customers and team members,” and that he apologized “for the damage done to all the people who work and bank at this important American institution.”
When the challenges at Wells Fargo “demanded decisive action, the bank’s leaders acted too slowly and too incrementally. That was unacceptable,” Sloan continued.
“I also want to be clear about another thing: Wells Fargo is a better bank today than it was a year ago. And next year, Wells Fargo will be a better bank than it is today. That is because we have spent the past year determined to earn back the public’s trust.”
Sloan detailed the changes at Wells Fargo over the past year, including “dramatically” overhauling its community bank’s “leadership, its organization, and its incentives,” stating that “at every level of the bank, our efforts focus squarely on the needs of our customers, not on achieving product sales goals.”
Wells Fargo, Sloan continued, has “eliminated product sales goals for retail bankers. Those goals contributed to a high-pressure sales environment that failed our customers. In some cases, these goals even resulted in customers receiving products they never requested or realized they had.”