In testimony on September 20 before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Wells Fargo & Company Chairman and Chief Executive John Stumpf addressed the wrongful sales practices that have taken place in the company’s retail banking business, outlined the actions to eliminate them, and emphasized the company’s commitment to rebuild trust going forward. (Wells Fargo is No. 12 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list.)
“I accept full responsibility for all unethical sales practices in our retail banking business, and I am fully committed to fixing this issue, strengthening our culture, and taking the necessary actions to restore our customers’ trust,” Stumpf said.
“I want to make it very clear that we never directed nor wanted our team members to provide products and services to customers that they did not need or want. That is not good for our customers, and it is not good for our business. It is against everything we stand for as a company.”
Stumpf said the Wells Fargo Board is actively engaged on this issue. “The Board has the tools to hold senior leadership accountable, including me and Carrie Tolstedt, the former head of our retail banking business.”
He noted that any Board actions taken with named executive officers will be appropriately disclosed. Stumpf added, “I want to be clear on this: I will respect and accept the decision of the Board.”
In his testimony, Stumpf also outlined key actions to ensure its culture is wholly aligned with the interests of its customers, including:
– Ending product sales goals for everyone in the retail banking business to make certain nothing gets in the way of doing what is right for customers;
– Sending customers a confirmation email within one hour of opening any deposit account and an acknowledgement letter after submitting a credit card application;
– Contacting all deposit customers across the country, including those who have already received refunded fees, to invite them to review their accounts with their banker and calling the credit card customers identified in the review to confirm whether they need or want their credit card;
– Expanding the scope of its customer account review and remediation to include 2009 and 2010;
– Conducting an independent, enterprise-wide review of our sales practices.
“I am making a personal commitment to rebuilding our customers’ and investors’ trust, the faith of our team members, and the confidence of the American people,” Stumpf said.
Stumpf’s full testimony is available at www.wellsfargo.com/commitment.