An investigation led by Wells Fargo's board into the practices that led to thousands of false accounts blames Carrie Tolstedt, the former head of the retail division:
The root cause of sales practice failures was the distortion of the Community Bank's sales culture and performance management system, which, when combined with aggressive sales management, created pressure on employees to sell unwanted or unneeded products to customers and, in some cases, to open unauthorized accounts.
The report also says the former CEO John Stumpf was "too slow" to investigate possible issues. The report is public on Wells Fargo's website.
Tolstedt's lawyers dispute the allegations. Stumpf once referred to Tolstedt as the "best banker in America." Reuters reported:
Tolstedt was perceived by high-level employees as having the support of Stumpf, with whom it was considered best to avoid raising problems with.
"Stumpf was ultimately responsible for enterprise risk management at Wells Fargo, but was not perceived within Wells Fargo as someone who wanted to hear bad news or deal with conflict," the report said.
Duke Law School Professor James Cox told Reuters, "There's a tremendous amount of pressure from regulators to throw someone under the bus. If they don't, then Wells Fargo is going to be even more in the crosshairs."