Elizabeth Warren Tells Wells Fargo CEO To Resign Over Recent Scandal
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has had it with the big banks — most recently the financial behemoth Wells Fargo. The CEO of Wells Fargo was in the hot seat with Warren on Tuesday at the Senate Banking Committee's Wells Fargo hearing, and Warren was in no mood to tread lightly. In an exchange that has since gone viral, Warren told the Wells Fargo CEO that he should resign after the company's most recent banking scandal, unleashing an eviscerating diatribe that left the man visibly stunned.
John Strumpf, the CEO of Wells Fargo for the past 35 years, was answering questions posed to him by the Senate regarding a number of bogus accounts opened under client's names by Wells Fargo employees for the past five years. Strumpf apologized for the scandal and announced that 5,300 employees had been fired in connection with the false accounts. In a prepared statement, he told the Senate:
This was not quite cutting it for Warren. She pointed out that Strumpf had made millions of dollars in the scam, and told him: "You should resign ... and you should be criminally investigated."
On Sept. 8, Wells Fargo was fined $185 million after an internal review discovered that over 2 million false bank accounts and credit cards had been opened by company employees using client information without the client's knowledge or permission. These accounts were opened between May 2011 and July 2015, but Strumpf told the committee that the bank is committed to looking into accounts as far back as 2009 and 2010.
Sen. Warren slams Wells Fargo CEO for "pushing blame" on lower level employees, says "it's gutless leadership". pic.twitter.com/3p2kebseDb— CNBC (@CNBC) September 20, 2016
As Strumpf appeared to attempt to shift blame on to employees, Sen. Warren took him to task for his actions. She referred to the Wells Fargo Vision and Values Statement, in particular: "If you want to find out how strong a company's ethics are, don't listen to what its people say, watch what they do."
"So, let's do that," Warren said, before admonishing Strumpf for failing to accept any sort of accountability while pushing the blame on lower level employees. "It's gutless leadership."
Warren ended her line of questioning with this short speech:
Sen. Warren wasn't the only senator who voiced anger and frustration over the Wells Fargo scandal (although she was certainly the most fired up). As Sen. John Tester of Montana pointed out, speaking of the rare unity of the committee in their criticism of Strumpf:
Whatever happens to the bank next is still up in the air. For now, top brass have spoken out in their own defense, with a Wells Fargo spokesperson telling Romper in an email recently,
Still, despite the apologies and defenses put forth by the company, it doesn't seem to be enough — and when Sen. Warren catches your scent... watch out.