Senate Banking Committee to Hold Hearings on Wells Fargo Account Culture

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is among the members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee who signed onto a letter demanding hearings following revelations that Wells Fargo opened as many as 1.5 million unauthorized accounts and applied for 565,000 credit cards without customer consent.

The letter asks the committee to examine “how it is possible that more than 5,000 employees could bilk customers over the course of five years…and whether Wells Fargo’s sales and compensation structure incentivized employees to engage in deceptive and abusive practices.”

Senator Merkley signed the letter, along with Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

“This was a staggering fraud,” Senator Warren told CNN last week. “This went on for years and they didn’t smell anything in the air about fake accounts?”

More than 5,300 employees have been terminated since the news broke. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has also levied $185 million in fines against the bank, the largest in the agency’s young history.

Carrie Tolstedt, the senior executive in charge of the division in question, is set to retire at the end of 2016, triggering a payout of $124 million in stocks and options. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf is set to testify before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday.

Questions about this story? Contact Eric Horvath: 503.350.2222,

Posted in Advocacy News, Federal, NWCUA.