More Trouble for Wells Fargo

In what The Wall Street Journal called "another round of blistering criticism," Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf faced the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday. If Elizabeth Warren didn't challenge Stumpf enough last week during the Senate Banking Committee Hearing, Chairman Jeb Hensarling stated early on, in his opening statement, "Fraud is fraud. Theft is theft."

He also said, "All culpable individuals must be held accountable." Earlier in the week, Stumpf was criticized for firing low-level employees but retaining managers. For the first time, Stumpf said that "10% or more" of the 5,300 employees fired were branch managers, but that didn't seem to soothe the committee members. Others expressed enthusiasm for the $41 million clawback (money recovered from Stumpf's compensation), said he should be fired, and encouraged the break-up of Wells Fargo.

Jeff Sonnenfeld, A Yale University School of Management professor, called Stumpf "completely unprepared" and called the scene "political theater."

To make matters worse for Wells Fargo, the bank will pay $24 million in settlements for "allegedly improper repossessions of cars belonging to members of the U.S. military."

Discussion Starters:

  • How well did Hensarling introduce the hearings? Did you find him too harsh, right on target, or something else?
  • Sonnenfeld also says Stumpf wasn't prepared for questions. Do you agree with his assessment?
  • What were Stumpf's strongest and weakest points?