Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement in response to an announcement by Wells Fargo & Company that Tim Sloan would step down as CEO, President, and Board member, effective immediately.
“I agree with Tim Sloan that it is best that he steps down. Tim Sloan has a 31-year history at Wells Fargo, and oversaw the bank’s head of community banking at a time when the bank was engaged in opening millions of fraudulent accounts, costing their customers millions of dollars. Instead of being held accountable, he was promoted and rewarded with millions in compensation. Mr. Sloan received a $2 million bonus and total compensation of $18.4 million in 2018, a year in which federal regulators and authorities capped the bank’s growth and fined the bank more than $3 billion for offenses such as improperly charging customers auto insurance and mortgage fees. Now, he is walking away with a retirement package reportedly worth $52 million. Meanwhile, as we discussed at our March 12 hearing, recent news reports indicate that under Mr. Sloan’s watch, Wells Fargo has continued to have a culture of aggressive practices that take advantage of their customers.
“Mr. Sloan’s departure is long overdue and should be followed by the removal of other culpable executives and directors. This bank has a long, shameful track record of egregious violations of the law. In addition to their fraudulent accounts scandal, Wells Fargo has charged customers for auto insurance policies they did not need, caused customers to lose their homes by failing to provide loan modifications, harmed servicemembers by charging them illegal fees, failing to disclose their active duty status in eviction proceedings, and unlawfully repossessing their vehicles, illegally sold complex financial products to retail investors, and failed to follow anti-money laundering laws. Many consumers who have been harmed by Wells Fargo’s illegal practices have not been made whole.
“I will continue to scrutinize Wells Fargo’s activities and treatment of consumers, and work to ensure that the bank is held fully accountable for its wrongdoing, including by continuing to press regulators to utilize all the enforcement tools at their disposal.”
Following Sloan’s March 12 testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, where it was clear Wells Fargo had failed to clean up its act, Waters called for Sloan to be removed from his position.
This bank has demonstrated a pattern of abusing its customers:
- Between 2011 and 2016, Wells Fargo fraudulently opened millions of unauthorized accounts, costing their customers millions of dollars. In September 2016, the Consumer Bureau, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Los Angeles City Attorney imposed a collective $185 million fine.
- From 2006 to 2016, the bank charged servicemembers illegal fees, failed to disclose their active duty status in eviction proceedings, and unlawfully repossessed their vehicles, resulting in a $20 million fine and $10 million returned to servicemembers.
- From 2005 to 2016, the bank charged customers for auto insurance policies they did not need, resulting in some customers going into default, and losing their vehicles. From 2013 to 2017, Wells Fargo inappropriately charged prospective home loan borrowers fees for extending the period for a mortgage interest-rate lock. Together, these abuses led to a collective fine of $1 billion by the Consumer Bureau and OCC.
- In 2015 and 2017, the OCC and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) respectively found that Wells Fargo or its subsidiary failed to comply with anti-money laundering laws.
- The SEC also found that, from 2009 to 2013, Wells Fargo Advisors unlawfully sold complex financial products to retail investors, reducing their investment returns.