Wells Fargo CEO to Congress: ‘deeply sorry’ for account abuses

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

For Bloomberg News, Elizabeth Dexheimer and Laura Keller report, “Wells Fargo & Co.’s John Stumpf, struggling to quell a scandal and demands for management accountability, plans to tell lawmakers Tuesday the bank failed customers and the public by reacting too slowly to signs employees were opening millions of unauthorized accounts. In prepared remarks to the Senate Banking Committee, Stumpf opens and closes by saying he’s ‘deeply sorry’ and lays out a five-year timeline of attempts to deter misconduct. The abuses — which imposed fees on clients, and may have hurt credit scores for some — wasn’t an ‘orchestrated effort,’ he said, and executives spent years trying to stamp it out.” Those damned low-level employees. Always battering a bank’s reputation. 

In the Wall Street Journal, Yuka Hayashi and Christina Rexrode write, “When lawmakers confront Wells Fargo & Co.’s top executive over sales practices Tuesday, they will zoom in on one topic that could have broad implications for the financial industry: whether banks should do more to take back executive pay tied to profits derived from illicit actions. Gearing up for a congressional hearing, five Democratic senators last week pressed the bank to ‘claw back’ some pay in a compensation package promised to a departing Wells Fargo executive.”

At USA Today an editorial says, “And what about accountability? Well, the executive who oversaw the unit that created 2 million unauthorized accounts is leaving the company with a $124.6 million golden parachute. … CEO John Stumpf’s handling of the unfolding scandal has hardly instilled much confidence. He has repeatedly tried to minimize the number of people involved, and he has not dismissed anyone but low- and mid-level employees.”

On the St. Cloud knife attacker. The New York Times’ Mitch Smith and Richard Perez-Pena report, “ … law enforcement officials were unsure whether Mr. Adan had made contact with any terror organization, or had ‘self-radicalized,’ heeding the online calls to radical jihad that terrorist groups have used to goad Westerners into mounting attacks at home. The St. Cloud police chief, William Blair Anderson, stressed that the investigation had barely started, adding, ‘I want to know everything about this individual since the day he was born until last Saturday.’ ‘He was a normal American kid,’ said Jama Alimad, a leader among St. Cloud’s ethnic Somalis and a friend of the Adan family, who had seen Mr. Adan as recently as this summer. ‘I can’t see anyone more assimilated than that guy.’

In The Washington Post, Abigail Hauslohner and Drew Harwell say, “On Sunday night, roughly 24 hours after Adan’s rampage, a truck flying a Confederate flag and several motorcycles drove laps through some of St. Cloud’s predominantly Somali neighborhoods, revving their engines in a manner that was meant to intimidate, said Jaylani Hussein, the Minnesota director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group.” Nothing says ‘Merica like Dixie.

NBC News can’t get enough of “the hero cop.” Melanie Kucera, Daniella Silva and Safia Samee Ali report, “Timing and courage are the perfect ingredients to make a hero. An off-duty cop was ‘the right person, at the right place, and at the right time’ when he managed to end a bloody terror rampage at a Minnesota mall, authorities said Monday. … [Jason] Falconer is a part-time police officer for the city of Avon and was the former police chief in Albany, Minnesota. He also owns a firing range and firearms training facility where he teaches ‘decision shooting’ to law enforcement students at St. Cloud State University, according to the Associated Press.”

The conservative interweb is all over this. Says The Daily Caller’s Jim Treacher, “Nobody was killed, and that’s thanks to a civilian who put a stop to it by exercising his Second Amendment rights. … most news outlets are omitting [the NRA-certified] part of Falconer’s bio. Weird, right? You’d think they’d want people to know that a terrorist was stopped by a highly trained NRA member. A good guy with a gun. Ha ha, just kidding! That’s not part of the narrative. Guns are bad, remember?” 

Also from NBC News, a New Jargon Alert. Says Josh Meyer, “Counter-terrorism officials have been alarmed about so-called “open-source jihad” for years — and now worry that the terror trend that sparked the Boston Marathon attacks of 2013 helped launch the new spate of bombings in New York and New Jersey and the knife attack in Minnesota. … To the consternation of U.S. and allied security officials, wannabe jihadists only need access to the internet, even if they’re just disaffected teens living in their parents’ basements.”

For the liberal Raw Story blog, Brad Reed says, “Fox News tried to get St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson to attack Somali immigrants in his community — and he sternly refused to take the bait. … Anderson did an interview with Fox & Friends [Monday] morning … The program played Anderson a clip of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attacking Muslim immigrants for not informing law enforcement authorities when members of their communities become radicalized. Co-host Steve Doocy then asked Anderson to say whether he shared Trump’s ‘concern’ about the 6,000 Somali refugees living in his hometown. Anderson shot them down immediately. ‘I can tell you that the vast majority of all of our citizens, no matter their ethnicity, are fine, hard-working people, and now is not the time for us to be divisive,’ he said. ‘We already have a very cohesive community, and I expect that this will draw us even closer together. But at the end of the day, our job is public safety, period.” Well, I don’t think they’ll invite him back. 

For the Power Line blog, Scott Johnson writes, “Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen also worked as a security guard at PGA Village just before he committed the massacre. Dahir Adan went one better. Adan, the perpetrator of the St. Cloud stabbing rampage, not only worked as a security guard, he committed the stabbings in uniform. Well, it could have been worse. He could have worked on the tarmac at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport along with two other men involved in the federal terrorism case.”

In the Strib, Paul Walsh has this. “A plea agreement on a lesser charge means a jail stint of fewer than three weeks for a onetime Wadena-Deer Creek High School teacher and district administrator accused of sexually assaulting a student. Brian K. Maki, 58, pleaded guilty in Otter Tail County District Court to fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a gross misdemeanor, in connection with a molestation at his home in Henning, Minn., in April 2015. … Under questioning by a sheriff’s detective, Maki said he realized ‘how inappropriate’ his actions were.”

Here’s red meat for talk radioKevin Giles and David Peterson of the Strib report, “Metro-area communities may be required spend up to 10 percent of their share of state parks Legacy funds to attract more youth, new immigrants, and racial and ethnic minorities to regional parks under a proposal approved Monday by a committee of the Metropolitan Council.”

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 09/20/2016 - 08:06 am.

    Let’s see

    If Mr. Stumpf is like most big-corporation CEOs, and it would seem he is, at least in this regard, his bloated salary was justified to shareholders on some combination of company performance and the notion that he had greater responsibility, and therefore “deserved” greater compensation. Now that Wells Fargo has not only been caught red-handed in a massive fraud scheme which has reportedly cost 5,300 employees their jobs for taking part in it, and has already been hit with a $185 million fine, note how “deeply sorry” Mr. Stumpf is. This is the same tone taken by the 5-year-old who’s been caught stealing halloween candy from his little brother’s stash.

    It’s an interesting interpretation of the term “responsibility” that says rewards should go to the guy (or, in rare cases, the woman) at the top because “they have more responsibility,” but that punishments should mostly or entirely be inflicted on those at lower levels. Apparently, responsibility only applies in one direction. Heads, I win, tails, you lose.

    Mr. Stumpf assures us that these thousands of incidents are antithetical to Wells Fargo’s corporate culture. I’d suggest that, when thousands of fraudulent accounts are set up by thousands of Wells Fargo employees over a period of years, dishonesty IS the corporate culture, whether Mr. Stumpf is willing to admit it or not.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/20/2016 - 08:57 am.

      Clearly Mr. Stumpf is a Republican

      because that’s the approach they take to life in general,…

      i.e. when they steal from others through dishonest business practices they weren’t REALLY stealing,…

      only making “mistakes” that they’ll do something to fix (but not really – as soon as the crisis blows over they’ll set up ways to stonewall their damaged customers and make it impossible for those people to collect what SHOULD be due them),…

      but when anyone ELSE (not in their business or social class, or a public employee or Democratic politician),…

      THAT person should be publicly pilloried and eternally held up as a representative example of how horrible “those people” are.

      I can’t help but think that the threat by their C.E.O. to fire any employee of U.S. Bank that refers to the deplorable and dishonest business practices of Wells Fargo to try to entice customers to switch banks,…

      indicates that our nation’s largest banks are absolutely a cartel,…

      colluding to keep fees high and NOT to compete with each other,…

      and that US Bank has probably engaged in the same or similar practices,…

      and doesn’t want to be left with “egg on it’s face” once it’s own misdeeds come to light.

  2. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 09/20/2016 - 08:32 am.

    Wells Fargo PR is SO reassuring !!

    What a relief to hear their messaging that ONLY 4,000 – 5,000 employees were involved, and that this represents ONLY a small part of their overall business operations !!

    Just think: it could have been widespread. It could have involved a lot of people !! I was sure glad to hear of the minor scope of this fraud.

Leave a Reply