Scams

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
banking, billing, cfpb, scam

Companies:
wells fargo



Holy Crap: Wells Fargo Has To Fire 5,300 Employees For Scam Billing

from the how-do-you-miss-that dept

This story is crazy. Late yesterday it was revealed that banking giant Wells Fargo had to fire 5,300 employees over a massive scam in which those employees created over 2 million fake accounts to stuff with fees in order to meet their quarterly numbers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also fined the company $185 million ($100 million to the CFPB, $35 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and another $50 million to Los Angeles). Oh and it needs to pay back around $5 million to the customers it screwed over. The CFPB provides some crazy details:
  • Opening deposit accounts and transferring funds without authorization: According to the bank’s own analysis, employees opened roughly 1.5 million deposit accounts that may not have been authorized by consumers. Employees then transferred funds from consumers’ authorized accounts to temporarily fund the new, unauthorized accounts. This widespread practice gave the employees credit for opening the new accounts, allowing them to earn additional compensation and to meet the bank’s sales goals. Consumers, in turn, were sometimes harmed because the bank charged them for insufficient funds or overdraft fees because the money was not in their original accounts.
  • Applying for credit card accounts without authorization: According to the bank’s own analysis, Wells Fargo employees applied for roughly 565,000 credit card accounts that may not have been authorized by consumers. On those unauthorized credit cards, many consumers incurred annual fees, as well as associated finance or interest charges and other fees.
  • Issuing and activating debit cards without authorization: Wells Fargo employees requested and issued debit cards without consumers’ knowledge or consent, going so far as to create PINs without telling consumers.
  • Creating phony email addresses to enroll consumers in online-banking services: Wells Fargo employees created phony email addresses not belonging to consumers to enroll them in online-banking services without their knowledge or consent.
  • The thing is, if 5,300 employees were a part of this, this was not some random scam. This was a bank-approved plan to goose their numbers. It seems like among the 5,300 employees, management should be in serious trouble as well. What's really astounding about all of this is that it took this long for the practice to come to light. As the CFPB notes, end users were impacted by this, and you'd think that complaints would have made it clear that this was a problem much sooner. Or is that people are just so used to getting screwed by their bank that they let it slide? The CNN report notes that Los Angeles had sued Wells Fargo over this practice last year (hence LA being a part of the settlement fines), but having such a widespread scam going on is somewhat astounding.

    And, of course, it raises questions about what other banks are doing similar things as well. We've seen this kind of activity in the telco space at times with cramming, but that was generally third party scammers, where the telcos just looked the other way. This was full-time Wells Fargo employees doing the scam itself, and the bank apparently either encouraging it or just looking the other way from upper management.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 3:44am

      Lets see, lots of new accounts being created, with no increase in the money actually held by the bank. Either the board were complicit in this, or they are incompetent,in either case they should be removed from their positions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 3:48am

      But as we have seen the government has decided that proving cases against bankers is to hard. Even when there is clear evidence of malfeasance, they worry that expensive lawyers might befuddle jurors.

      So the perverse systems of rewarding 'wins' continues unabated.
      Government lawyers fear losing, they don't dare try... instead looking for easier targets.
      Banks give out compensation for new accounts, credit cards and don't notice how many of these new account holders are suddenly overdrafting their older accounts. There is no checking of any of the paperwork or questions raised.

      To big to prosecute...

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 3:56am

        Re:

        Even if it were really, really hard to get evidence in these cases, I think when you have freakin' 5300 people involved, odds are you can at least get a good 2 or 3 with solid testimony and evidence to help you make a case!
        No one gave a damn when this happened, no one cares now, and the bank pays a pittance in fines.
        Absolutely the right message being sent, here.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 5:42am

        Re:

        they worry that expensive lawyers might befuddle jurors.

        Playing Jurors like a fiddle is easy. They are from the stupid electorate that continues allowing this rape to continue without doing anything.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Padpaw (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 9:05am

        Re:

        too big too jail when they are bribing the head of the DoJ to ignore their crimes.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That Anonymous Coward (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 9:17am

          Re: Re:

          No they wouldn't bother with him.

          When they acquired Countrywide they acquired the congress critters who had sweetheart loans & their own special customer service numbers.

          While Congress does very little to provide oversight, the right phonecalls & veiled threats of investigations makes problems go away quickly.

          While they will waste millions on Benghazi and devote lots of time, they glossed over Katrina... they are playing politics with Zika funding.... But a corporation screwing over their constituents... can't be bothered.

          The system is corrupt to its core, and for reasons no one can fathom we keep electing people we know will screw us over for a small 'contribution'.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 6:30pm

            Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

            While Congress does very little to provide oversight…
            Wells Fargo Offers Regrets, but Doesn’t Admit Misconduct”, by Michael Corkery, New York Times, Sep 9, 2016
            [ Senator Jeff] Merkley [, Oregon Democrat and member of the Banking Committee,] said he wants the leadership of the Banking Committee to hold hearings on the Wells Fargo scandal. He hopes to hear testimony not only from bank executives, but from regulators on why they agreed to the settlement terms without an admission of wrongdoing from the bank.

            Republican staff members of the bank committee were briefed by Wells Fargo executives on Friday. The staff is still collecting information from the bank to help committee members decide whether the scandal warrants hearings, people briefed on the matter said.
            Let me ask you— If the Senate Banking Committee's Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Subcommittee held a hearing about this, would you watch that hearing on C-SPAN or webcast?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 11:37pm

              Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

              In other words whitewashing over the ugly stain.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2016 @ 8:07am

                Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                In other words…
                You didn't address the question I asked.

                If there was a Senate hearing on this, would you watch that hearing? Attend in person?

                You do understand that webcasts typically remain archived on the Senate webpages. Further, not only does C-SPAN video remain available at their website, but also DVRs can be programmed to record a hearing broadcast on cable. Thus, any potential personal scheduling conflict is no excuse. You can watch it later—if you care enough to watch at all.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2016 @ 12:07pm

              Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

              … would you watch that hearing on C-SPAN or webcast?
              September 12, 2016 letter to Senator Richard Shelby, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs from five minority-party members of that committee's subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection:
              Dear Chairman Shelby,

              In light of last Thursday's announcement by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that Wells Fargo opened unauthorized accounts and submitted fraudulent credit card applications in a duplicitous attempt to boost sales figures, we respectfully request that the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hold immediate committee hearings to fully investigate the matter. . . .

              Sincerely,

              Robert Menendez
              Sherrod Brown
              Jack Reed
              Elizabeth Warren
              Jeffery A. Merkeley

              Via “Wells Fargo scandal: Elizabeth Warren wants answers”, by Matt Egan, CNN Money, Sep 12, 2016.
              "The magnitude of this situation warrants a thorough and comprehensive review," reads the Senators' letter to Richard Shelby, the Republican chairman of the committee. . . .

              Sen. Bob Menendez, one of the lawmakers who signed the letter, told CNNMoney one of the reasons for holding a hearing would be to determine how far up in upper management did the problem originate. . . .
              (Embedded link lifted.)

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2016 @ 12:28pm

                Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                Correction: Senator Jeffery A. Merkley, from Oregon, (and also ranking member of the subcommittee), signed the Sep 12 letter to Chairman Shelby.

                Sorry. But it does rhyme with Berkeley, doesn't it?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2016 @ 12:42pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                  REALLY CORRECTED: No. Senator Jeffrey A. Merkley, from Oregon, (and also ranking member of the subcommittee), signed the Sep 12 letter to Chairman Shelby.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 3:54pm

                Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                September 12, 2016 letter … from five minority-party members of that committee's subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection
                Wells Fargo Does Damage Control Ahead of Congressional Grilling”, by Elizabeth Dexheimer, Bloomberg, September 14, 2016
                “This was one of the worst examples of anti-consumer conduct I’ve seen since the financial crisis," said Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, who met with Sloan. “I have deep concerns about Wells Fargo’s response to this prolonged fraud, including why it took so many years and insufficient steps to stop the misbehavior.”
                The hearing scheduled for Tues, Sep 20th is before the full Senate Banking Committee.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 4:01pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                  Senator Mark Warner
                  Should have marked that as “(Hyperlink added.)”

                  Sorry. I was concentrating on what I wasn't saying in that comment.

                  See what happens when you let your hair down, back in the archives, when absolutely no one's looking?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2016 @ 2:28pm

                Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                https://www.menendez.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Letter%20to%20Chairman%20Shelby%20re%20Wells%20Fa rgo%202016-09-12.pdf
                There's an article from a few days ago —floating around somewhere— that characterizes Sen. Menendez as a leader of the group behind that Sep 12 letter to Chairman Shelby. Don't think I'm going to bother searching for that story, but as the url indicates, that copy of the letter was distributed from his Senate website.

                In today's news… “ More than 2,500 New Jerseyans scammed by Wells Fargo”, by Richard Newman, NorthJersey.com, Sep 16, 2016
                U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez said Friday he was told by a senior Wells Fargo official that 2,673 New Jersey residents were victims of the bank's cross-selling scams and those victims have received refunds totaling $70,000.

                "I don't know if that's the end of it," Menendez said at a press conference held in front of a Wells Fargo branch on Cedar Lane in Teaneck . .&bsp;.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2016 @ 1:10am

                Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                Letter to Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf dated Sep 15, 2016, from Senators Warren, Brown, Reed, Menendez, and Merkley.

                Somewhat curiously, although the internal dateline of this letter does show the 15th, the openly-coded filename is: 2016-9-16_Letter_to_Wells_Fargo.pdf.

                Senators Ask if Wells Fargo Will Use Clawback Provisions to Recover Bonuses from Senior Executives, Including Carrie Tolstedt, Following CFPB Settlement for Employee Misconduct”, Sen. Warren press release, Sep 16, 2016.
                … today sent a letter…

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2016 @ 7:28pm

              Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

              Senate to hold hearing on Wells Fargo's aggressive sales tactics”, by Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times, Sep 12, 2016
              The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing next week on the aggressive sales tactics by Wells Fargo & Co. employees that led to a $185-million settlement package with federal and state regulators. . . .

              Additionally, an article in the Wall Street Journal this evening is headlined ”Senate Banking Committee to Host Wells Fargo Hearing”. The paywalled WSJ article gives substantially the same information as the article in the Los Angeles Times. The WSJ article does mention a little bit of other news that came out today, which is not covered in this particular Los Angeles Times article, but is covered elsewhere.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2016 @ 8:07pm

                Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                The WSJ article does mention a little bit of other news that came out today…
                Two senators want details on how seniors were affected by Wells Fargo fraud scheme”, by Vicki Needham, The Hill, Sep 12, 2016
                Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), who lead the Senate Aging Committee, sent a letter on Monday to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray asking for a meeting to discuss additional details of the multi-million dollar fraud scheme.
                September 12, 2016 letter to Director Cordray from Chairman Collins and Ranking Member McCaskill.


                (You know, if Maine's Senator Susan Collins wants to sign herself as “Chairman”, then who am I to put a “(sic)” or an even an asterisk on that? Just saying.)
                (Letter url via MarketWatch / Steve Goldstein.)

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2016 @ 9:32pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                  (Letter url via MarketWatch / Steve Goldstein.)
                  Somewhat incidentally, I didn't highlight Steve Goldstein's take in his MarketWatch story today, on the letter from Senators Susan Collins and Claire McCaskill to CFPB Director Richard Cordray, due to news from a different story today, by Reuters reporter Dan Freed, “U.S. regulator sees no evidence of Wells Fargo sales problem at other banks” (Sep 12, 2016)
                  Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), said during an interview on CNBC that he does not see problems similar to those discovered at Wells Fargo occuring "on any kind of systematic basis at any other bank."
                  The CNBC interview with Director Cordray can be seen embedded in the story at their website, under the headline, “Wells Fargo case is a loud, serious warning to banks, CFPB says” (Sep 12, 2016).

                  I expect that, in due course, we will see or read Director Cordray's direct response to the sixth question asked in the letter from Senators Collins and McCaskill—
                  How did the Bureau learn of the fraud in this case, and has it investigated whether employees at other financial institutions have participated in similar fraudulent activity?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2016 @ 8:01am

                Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                “Senate to hold hearing on Wells Fargo's aggressive sales tactics”, by Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times, Sep 12, 2016
                Fwiw, there's an newer version of Jim Puzzanghera's Los Angeles Times story this morning. Same headline, but dated Sep 13, 2016, 5:24 am, and available at a new url.

                I'm noting, somewhat curiously that the “UPDATES” notation on both versions, says:
                This article originally was published at 8:20 a.m.
                (Original italics.)

                That makes no sense to me.

                Both versions contain:
                The decision by the panel’s chairman, Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), to look into the matter came Monday night just hours after five Democrats on the committee publicly released a letter to him requesting hearings.
                Monday night is well after anything ante meridiem, and it isn't yet “8:20 a.m.” Tuesday, at least on the West Coast, generally observing PDT.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2016 @ 9:54am

              Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

              While Congress does very little to provide oversight…
              . . . .
              While it's been reported(*) that the Senate Banking Committee now has a hearing scheduled for Sep 20, 2016, the upper chamber is not the only side of Congress.

              Democrats seek U.S. House investigation of Wells Fargo case”, Reuters, Sep 13, 2016
              Democrats on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee are calling for an investigation into Wells Fargo's practices of putting customers into fake accounts, which last week led the federal government to fine the bank for nearly $200 million. . . .
              In the last few days, some reports have mentioned the Sep 9, 2016 statement by Representative Maxine Waters (CA). Given the overall amount of news coverage, I've attempted to be fairly selective in what I'm focusing on to pass along here. Today's Reuters report adds the information that Rep. Waters has been joined by Rep. Al Green (TX) in calling for a hearing on the House side.


              (*) I don't yet see the September 20th hearing on the Senate Banking Committee hearing schedule. That's not too surprising, given the report that the decision to hold the hearing was only reached last night.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2016 @ 3:31pm

                Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                (*) I don't yet see the September 20th hearing on the Senate Banking Committee hearing schedule.
                Checking back again this afternoon, the schedule now links to the hearing webpage—

                An Examination of Wells Fargo’s Unauthorized Accounts and the Regulatory Response
                September 20, 2016 10:00 AM
                538 Dirksen

                The COMMITTEE ON BANKING, HOUSING, AND URBAN AFFAIRS will meet in OPEN SESSION to conduct a hearing entitled “An Examination of Wells Fargo’s Unauthorized Accounts and the Regulatory Response.” The witnesses will be Mr. John G. Stumpf, Chairman and CEO, Wells Fargo & Company; The Honorable Tom Curry, Comptroller of the Currency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; and The Honorable Richard Cordray, Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Additional witnesses may be announced at a later date.

                 . . .

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2016 @ 7:37pm

                Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                … on the House side.
                Cummings demands more details on Wells Fargo fraud scheme”, by Vicki Needham, The Hill
                Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter on Tuesday to Wells CEO John Stumpf requesting information on how the company is holding employees and executives accountable for allegedly opening more than 2 million bank and credit card accounts without customers' knowledge.
                (Two embedded hyperlinks omitted; one hyperlink copied below.)

                From the Sep 13, 2016 letter to Mr Stumpf from Rep. Cummings (pp.2-3):
                 . . . . To investigate these widespread abuses and their impact on consumers, I request that you provide the following information for the timeframe of January 2011 to the present, unless otherwise indicated:
                1. All documents and communications produced to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the course of its review of Wells Fargo's sales practices culminating in the Consent Order between the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Wells Fargo filed on September 8, 2016 (“Consent Order”);

                2. All documents and communications, including emails, text messages, memoranda, and policies, referring or relating to the activities described in the Consent Order (“improper sales tactics”);

                3. All documents and communications referring to or relating to how and when Wells Fargo management first became aware of these improper sales tactics;

                4. Documents and communications sufficient to detail when and how Wells Fargo took steps to increase oversight and redress the improper sales tactics;

                5. Documents detailing any Wells Fargo compensation policies permitting “compensation clawbacks” for participation in activities leading to consent orders, settlement agreements, or court orders;

                6. Documents and communications sufficient to detail the development of compensation policies permitting “compensation clawbacks” for participation in activities leading to consent orders, settlement agreements, or court orders;

                7. All written analysis used to justify Carrie Tolstedt's compensation;

                8. All documents and communications, including emails and memoranda, referring or relating to the establishment of Carrie Tolstedt's compensation;

                9. All documents and communications referring or relating to whether the compensation of Carrie Tolstedt will be “clawed back” when she leaves the bank and the discussions leading to this decision;

                10. Documents and communications sufficient to show the number of customers impacted by these improper sales tactics, and how many of those customers were reported to any credit rating agency or collection agency for an overage, forced closure, or any other credit issue;

                11. Documents sufficient to explain the steps Wells Fargo is taking to ensure that the records maintained by consumer credit agencies do not include any improper account actions initiated by Wells Fargo employees;

                12. All documents and communications produced to, and received from third party consultants hired by Wells Fargo to review its improper sales tactics, including any reports of findings;

                13. All documents and communications referring or relating to the base and incentive compensation structures for employees involved in these improper sales tactics;

                14. All documents and communications referring or relating to changes in base and incentive compensation structure for bank branches and bank branch workers involved in these improper sales tactics; and

                15. Documents and communications sufficient to detail the positions and salaries of all employees terminated for the improper sales tactics.
                I request that you provide this information and a briefing by October 13, 2016. . . .

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2016 @ 12:52pm

                Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                … on the House side.
                House panel launches Wells Fargo probe”, by Peter Schroeder, The Hill, Sep 16, 2016
                The House Financial Services Committee is opening a formal investigation into wrongdoing at Wells Fargo.

                The banking panel announced Friday that it was calling on Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf to testify before the panel later in September. . . .
                (Was alerted to news by @peteschroeder several hours before story published.)

                I'm noting that a hearing planned “later in September” would occur before the “October 13, 2016” due date of Rep. Cummings letter.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2016 @ 3:00pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                  Committee Opens Investigation of Wells Fargo”, House Financial Services Committee press release, Sep 16, 2016

                  This press release contains text of three letters, all dated today (Sep 16, 2016), from Chairman Hensarling, and addressed to:
                  • James M. Strother, Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Wells Fargo & Company
                  • The Honorable Richard Cordray, Director, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection
                  • The Honorable Thomas J. Curry, Comptroller of the Currency


                  The letter to Mr Strother, in addition to requesting “all records relating to the questionable sales practices that Wells Fargo produced or made available to the OCC, LACA or the Bureau” “not later than September 23, 2016”, also requests:
                  Additionally, please make available the following corporate officers for transcribed interviews with Committee staff during the month of September:
                  1. John Shrewsberry, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer;
                  2. Timothy Sloan, President and Chief Operating Officer;
                  3. Michael Loughlin, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer; and
                  4. Carrie Tolstedt, Senior Executive Vice President for Community Banking.
                  (Text lightly reformatted.)

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2016 @ 7:04pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                    Additionally, please make available the following corporate officers for transcribed interviews with Committee staff during the month of September…
                    Wells Fargo’s Sloan Expects to Regain Lost Business With States Within a Few Years”, by Laura J Keller, Bloomberg, Oct 10, 2016
                    Last month, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling asked Wells Fargo executives including Sloan to sit for transcribed interviews as the panel examines the bank’s sales practices. While the lawmaker requested that talks happen in September, Sloan said on Monday that intermediaries are still working on the schedule and that he assumes a meeting may occur “in the next month or so.”
                    This story attributes these statements by Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Operating Officer Tim Sloan to “a telephone interview on Monday.” That would be today, Oct 10, 2016.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2016 @ 7:24pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Congressional oversight [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                  “House panel launches Wells Fargo probe”, by Peter Schroeder, The Hill, Sep 16, 2016
                  Further posts about this “hearing planned ‘later in September’ ” resume under the subject, “House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Sep 29”, much farther below in thread view.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 4:28am

      Bloomberg has a much better article on this and they go into much more detail using facts as the basis for the story other than mainly speculation. Basically it says that the employees did it because the sales goals they had to meet were so unrealistic that they created the accounts, most which had a @wellsfargo.com email.

      Mike, you usually do a much better job than this on your stories. When I read an article here I usually expect it to be a few days after a story has broke and it usually goes very in depth. Hopefully you will follow up with an article that is more to your normal standard.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 4:38am

        Re:

        It's also nice to provide links when you claim there's a better source.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 5:23am

        Re:

        Basically it says that the employees did it because the sales goals they had to meet were so unrealistic that they created the accounts, most which had a @wellsfargo.com email.

        Which might make sense if we were talking about a few, or even a few dozen people doing it across the entire company, but when we're talking about literally thousands of employees the idea that no-one in management had so much as a hunch that something fishy might be going on before the investigation pointed it out to them goes right out the window.

        As the article and the first AC noted, either upper management knew and looked the other way or they were so grossly incompetent that they never caught on, either way they need to be fired at best given the idea that they really had no clue is minuscule when you consider how many people we're talking about here.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          MadAsASnake (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 7:00am

          Re: Re:

          This happened a lot in the UK as well. The incentives given to floor staff are usually in terms of "conversion rates". The targets are based on the "best" staff calculated on those conversion rates. The "best" are invariably those that are cheating.

          In one case I am aware of, one staff member "upgraded" the accounts of all 13 customers she saw that day. In return, she was:
          - rewarded with a commission for each sale
          - rewarded with a bonus for being a top op
          - given recognition throughout the company

          When her manager reviewed those upgrades, it was plain that the customers had not agreed to them. So what happened? The manager had to contact all 13, explain the "mistake" and put it right. This member of staff:
          - kept the commission, bonus and recognition
          - was not reprimanded (how could you having so publicly congratulated her)

          The new targets the following week were increased in proportion to this record achievement. The reason this gets really out of hand is that those staff not making the targets face criticism and sometimes even dismissal for poor performance.

          My wife was a co-worker in this branch. As she said, you could do you job with integrity, or you could hit your targets which were spectacularly unattainable. My guess is that stupid incentives structures combined with a refusal to reprimand dishonest behaviour is behind this too. The management need to be sacked whether they knew or not.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 7:30am

            Re: Re: Re:

            "The management need to be sacked whether they knew or not."

            This last sentence is why I marked this post as insightful. This is exactly right.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Jeremy2020 (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 8:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The management needs to be arrested, but hey, they got to pay a couple hundred million of the bank's money to avoid prosecution.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 8:09am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Can't really disagree with you there. But, in such a crooked country as this one where government does more to protect the crooks than the consumers, it's an unrealistic expectation unfortunately.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 8:14am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                It's funny because bank robbery is a federal crime subject to prison and everything, and the government will do everything in their power to go after you and protect the bank's interests. But when the bank robs you the government hardly lifts a finger.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            LAquaker, 10 Sep 2016 @ 2:04pm

            Re: Do you know where your $binary is?

            In 2012, my wife woke up one Saturday night and checked the 3 1997 WtF California Green Party checking accounts we were running. Surprise; a couple of $0.67 diddles, and then an electronic 'Check' written for $1,300.
            WtF had just set up 'electronic banking' on all checking accounts, but I hadn't even 'activated' the new key fob.
            Without a clew where the leak was, another Green Party signer and I took a bus 400miles and sat down with WtF, they persuaded three of us to open 3 new parallel GP checking & a new GP 'savings' accounts.
            Long story short, dozens of 1-2k electronic 'Checks' were FedEx'd all over the country for six months. Try explaining to a young father in Baltimore on the 1st of December that the $1,134 paper check in his hand, in his name, is worthless:(

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 10:55am

          Re: Re:

          Which might make sense if we were talking about a few, or even a few dozen people doing it across the entire company, but when we're talking about literally thousands of employees the idea that no-one in management had so much as a hunch that something fishy might be going on before the investigation pointed it out to them goes right out the window.

          Sounds like willful ignorance to me - I'm guessing they made sure that they didn't know what was going on. Sounds exactly like Volkswagen: "I don't want to hear about it, just make it happen or you're fired".

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 7:40am

        Re:

        "Basically it says that the employees did it because the sales goals they had to meet were so unrealistic that they created the accounts"

        As I was reading the article I thought perhaps Mike thought that this point was obvious enough to not be worth mentioning. I figured this was the case before I read it from you, big companies have long been known for having unrealistic quotas that cause employees to do shady things.

        As I think about it this article is so generic as far as news goes that it's not generally something Techdirt covers at all. Obviously management screwed up here for both having unrealistic quotas and incentive structures and for not catching this type of activity, any idiot can tell you that.

        but if Techdirt wishes to cover it I don't care, but perhaps they are simply selectively choosing which aspects of the story to focus on. Usually Techdirt tries to focus on what other media outlets aren't focusing on while leaving out the points that have already been covered ad nauseam everywhere else (though in this case I don't really see anything new here either). So I get a little annoyed when someone comes over here and says "you're ignoring the part of the story that everyone else is covering". That's usually done intentionally.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 9:34am

          Re: Re:

          I get what you are saying, which is the reason I come to Techdirt in the first place. Well more than just how the cover things that other outlets are missing, but more about how in depth they go with the coverage. I just found this particular article by Techdirt to be very light. Typically when I read a TD article on something it is usually well after it has been covered by other outlets and TD has time to get into the real meat.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 4:36am

      "The thing is, if 5,300 employees were a part of this, this was not some random scam. This was a bank-approved plan to goose their numbers. "

      Umm, I seriously doubt that. I can imagine there was definitely some management involved, but claim this was a "bank-approved" plan is outrageous. Why on earth would they do this with fake accounts and PAY EMPLOYEES a bonus for "new account sign ups". Not only would the fake account NOT generate new profits for the company, they would lose money over all paying out incentives. This sounds like "Wells Fargo" as a whole was also scammed by these rouge employees. I don't doubt that some in higher management knew but no way this was something that the top heads would have okay'd.

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      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 5:56am

        Re:

        Why? Because the fake accounts WERE generating new profits.

        As the story explains, two million fake accounts still fleeced customers for very real service fees. And then the bank could charge them for insufficient funds or overdraft fees because the money was not in their original accounts.

        Sure, the practice probably wasn't explicitly approved by the bank. In exactly the same sense that certain outlaw motorcycle clubs don't explicitly approve criminal activity by their members or puppet clubs.

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      • icon
        MadAsASnake (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 7:02am

        Re:

        See my previous post - there is some industrial grade denial going on around some seriously stupid targets.

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      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 10 Sep 2016 @ 3:12am

        Re:

        I agree with you completely. I too was struck by that line in the story, as it draws a conclusion that cannot be drawn by the evidence.

        Rather it's much easier to picture a scenario where a number of employees over different locations and such came to the same basic conclusion: Faking it would work. When they had success (ie, the bosses didn't notice and they got their bonuses) they perhaps told some of their friends / co-workers how to do it. The word spreads, and soon a whole bunch of people are doing it.

        It's doubtful that the company would teach such a thing directly. However, their goal system and such set up the potential for such abuse, and they had little incentive (beyond perhaps customer satisfaction) to police it.

        Concluding that this was a "bank approved plan" is pretty much trying to write the conclusion to match your desires, rather than reality.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2016 @ 9:30am

        Allegations against management [was Re: ]

        I can imagine there was definitely some management involved
        Wells Fargo settled over its bogus accounts, but it still faces a fight from customers and ex-employees”, by James Rufus Koren, Los Angeles Times, Sep 10, 2016
        The San Francisco banking giant still faces lawsuits from . . . from former employees who claim that they were were fired or forced to quit when they wouldn’t resort to breaking rules to meet the bank’s strict sales quotas. . . .

        [Los Angeles attorney] [Michael P.] Kade’s clients have accused the bank of a handful of labor law violations, including wrongful termination and failure to pay overtime, all related to the aggressive sales practices detailed in a 2013 Los Angeles Times investigation and later seized on by regulators.

        In the suit, the workers allege that they were encouraged by Wells Fargo regional executives to “open unneeded ‘ghost’ accounts for customers, to order credit cards without customers’ permission and to forge clients signatures on paperwork in order to meet their sales quotas.”
        (Embedded link or links omitted, and anchor text reformatted.)

        At a certain point, whether or not a board of directors formally approves any specific corporate policy, coordinated action amongst mid- and lower-level managers executes corporate policy.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        John Nordness, 20 Sep 2016 @ 2:27pm

        Re:

        If wells fargo was getting credit card fees, late fees and interest payments on credit cards not requested they would in fact be populating their spreadsheets with "wins".

        My question is "why aren't the employees being prosecuted for fraud? They used someone else's name and information to open an account without permission.

        Isn't that illegal?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 4:36am

      Management won't suffer for this

      It's obvious to everyone that this plan was conceived and executed by upper management: there's no way that several thousand employees spontaneously came up with this and organized themselves into an effective fraud-committing force. There's also no way that this escaped the attention of internal and external auditors, who were no doubt paid to look the other way.

      But these executives won't lose their jobs -- or if they do: golden parachute. They won't face prosecution. They won't be fined. No, these things are only for the little people; the rich and powerful don't have to face justice. They'll just slink away and take a few years off, enjoy the beach, and then turn up somewhere else doing something similar. That's how it's done.

      Side note: the Republican party has tried and tried and tried to gut the CFPB, precisely because they do things like this to their pals.

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      • identicon
        Michael, 9 Sep 2016 @ 4:52am

        Re: Management won't suffer for this

        That's not necessarily true. This happened over a long period of time. It would be fairly easy to see an evolution of a few employees doing this in a single branch and as they are promoted or simply move around, end up spreading the process to other branches. Start with 4 employees in a single branch, two of them move to other branches, show 4 more people each, etc. It could spread exponentially.

        Upper management may have looked the other way depending on how their own incentives were structured.

        All we can really do is speculate until the details really come out.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 6:30am

          Re: Re: Management won't suffer for this

          You have to be joking. Justice is for the little people, and especially for little people who aren't straight white Christian males. Justice sends a black teenager prison for nine years for a single joint (yes, really) while the architects of the housing collapse install another swimming pool and vacation in Italy. Justice lets rapist Brock Turner off with a few easy months while executing Korryn Gaines in front of her five-year-old child. (They shot him, too. Because they can.)

          Justice is not for executives, particularly not for executives who can afford top-tier attorneys (or have the corporations pay for them). Even if they're pursued aggressively, they'll stall, they'll obfuscate, they'll bargain...and eight years from now, when this story is old old news and nobody cares much about it any more, they'll quietly make a deal. None of them will spend a day in jail. None of them will miss a meal. None of them will have to give up a Mercedes. None of them will have any trouble finding another job -- if they even need or want one.

          Executives are a privileged class now. That's how it works. Which is why they do things like this: they know that they can. So of course they organized this. Of course they sanctioned this. Of course they rewarded this. It was a perfectly rational decision based on known risk factors. And it's playing out just like they thought it would: the flunkies (who are just a payroll expense anyway) are being fired, and the architects are being protected.

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          • icon
            nasch (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 10:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Management won't suffer for this

            You have to be joking. Justice is for the little people...

            That has nothing to do with Michael's comment. He isn't saying the executives will be held to account, he's saying it's possible this started and spread organically as a result of the incentive structures, rather than being "conceived and executed by upper management" as you claimed.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 11:32am

            Re: Re: Re: Management won't suffer for this

            He who has the gold makes the rules. So gold or green is really the only colors that count.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 12:18pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Management won't suffer for this

              HEY!!!111!!! YOU messed up teh artwork111!!!111

              Now that we're safely into the archives, just for the record, comment #112 did briefly appear when this story was still on the sidebar of Techdirt's front page.

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      • icon
        Padpaw (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 9:08am

        Re: Management won't suffer for this

        they might get a bonus for removing several thousand people from the payroll

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    • icon
      Chris ODonnell (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 4:52am

      As a Wells Fargo customer I'm not surprised at all. Even the damn ATM tries to sell me 3 difference services while I'm taking $40 out of the bank. The pressure to sell there is so intense it's not surprising employees cheated to make their quotas.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 5:09am

      There is an old addage 'first time shame on you; second time shame on me'.

      After the stunts Wells Fargo pulled in Florida in the big housing bust why would anyone be dumb enough to have a Wells Fargo account?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 5:11am

      "management should be in serious trouble as well"

      Nah, shit flows down hill in a corporatocracy.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 5:23am

      While the lowly workers are punished, top management will get bonuses.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous, 9 Sep 2016 @ 5:32am

      Wf scam

      Management definitely knew about it. Thsts not even debatable. These people can't even take a pee break without manager approval at some offices. Managers probably said "i dont care what you do, just hit your numbers so i can hit mine". That is what history has taught us. Dont fool yourself.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 5:39am

      What if I did the same thing?

      And if I did the same thing as an ordinary citizen, would I just be fired?

      Or would the full arm of justice fall on my head, and I'd find myself sitting in a federal prison?

      I guess if you're one of those scumbags in banking, you can just say "whoopsie" and move on from stuff like this.

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      • identicon
        David, 9 Sep 2016 @ 7:15am

        Re: What if I did the same thing?

        You mean the "but having such a widespread scam going on is somewhat astounding." thing? That's what it takes to be presidential material. You need to tell the people what they want to hear against better judgment. It's the same whether you are running a crime ring, a Ponzi scheme, or for president. The latter has the lowest success rate, but also the lowest incarceration rate.

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    • identicon
      Daydream, 9 Sep 2016 @ 5:42am

      Well, that's one way to get rid of excess employees...

      ...And I bet it doesn't even cost them redundancy pay or any benefits.

      I wonder, will Wells Fargo go out hiring to replace the employees who were fired?
      If they do, I'll believe this was genuine and upper management is innocent.
      If they don't, I'll believe it's a scheme to get rid of employees without paying any more expenses.

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    • icon
      Chris ODonnell (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 6:02am

      I worked at a big company that got busted for this sort of thing, although on a much bigger scale. Qwest Communications was doing something similar at the end of the dot com boom - 2001. On the last day of the month regional sales managers would simply mark whatever deals they needed as sold, even though they weren't. Sales Managers got their bonuses based on those self reported numbers, so these guys were making well into six figures on fraudulent sales. In sales we didn't get paid until the project invoiced, which obviously these fake deals never did, so we didn't benefit financially even though you could argue we were ultimately responsible as our names were on the accounts.

      The CFO and CEO went to jail for faking sales on a much larger (multi-billion) scale. So no, I doubt senior management at Wells Fargo was specifically aware that this stuff was going on, but they created a culture that led to it happening, and I wouldn't be surprised to find out shenanigans at a much bigger scale are happening at the higher levels of the organization.

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    • identicon
      Jason, 9 Sep 2016 @ 6:06am

      ripple effect?

      One aspect I haven't seen mentioned in any of the coverage yet was the potential impact on victim's credit. Having "extra" accounts in their name, to say nothing about overdrafts and all that, can potentially have ripple effects beyond just the particular fees they produce. Missed a loan payment because your account was unexpectedly overdrawn? That could easily come back to bite you years later when a lender runs your credit report.

      It's all well and good that they'll have to pay back the customers they swindled. But it's probably impossible to calculate the potential losses that could have occurred for all the people who maybe couldn't get a loan (or got a higher rate than they should have) because Wells Fargo was screwing around with accounts in their name.

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 11:03am

        Re: ripple effect?

        It's all well and good that they'll have to pay back the customers they swindled. But it's probably impossible to calculate the potential losses that could have occurred for all the people who maybe couldn't get a loan (or got a higher rate than they should have) because Wells Fargo was screwing around with accounts in their name.

        In theory fraudulent transactions can be removed from one's credit history, though I have never tried it.

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        • icon
          ltlw0lf (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 2:30pm

          Re: Re: ripple effect?

          In theory fraudulent transactions can be removed from one's credit history, though I have never tried it.

          From personal experience, they can, but usually it takes quite a bit of work and some money. The earlier you catch it, the easier it is to take care of. If you have enough money or a lawyer on retainer, it is a lot easier, but at first you need to know the problem exists and it doesn't look like a lot of people caught it. What really hurts is when the company who fraudulently claims you owed them money goes out of business or is bought out by several successors of interest before you catch it, in which case, good luck.

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    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 6:18am

      Tough break for those 5,300 people

      I don't think even Comcast or AT&T have that many openings in their fraudulent billing departments.

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    • identicon
      DigDuggery, 9 Sep 2016 @ 6:42am

      Wells Fargo also plays with

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        DigDuggery, 9 Sep 2016 @ 6:46am

        Re: Wells Fargo also plays with transaction ordering...

        To complete the post, Wells Fargo's transaction software has taken transactions and re-sorted them so that all debit transactions are applied before credit transactions.

        I tested this a few years back by transferring funds to one of my accounts @ 6AM. I then used my debit card @ 4 PM.
        When the transactions showed up in my account transaction log, the debit was listed as being completed before the credit transfer that occured 10 hours before the debit.

        They must have a lot of "profit parties" due to these kinds of transaction shenanigans.

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        • icon
          MadAsASnake (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 7:04am

          Re: Re: Wells Fargo also plays with transaction ordering...

          I was once charged and overdraft charge where it was the overdraft charge that put me in overdraft.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 10:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Wells Fargo also plays with transaction ordering...

            yep, done purposefully and with impunity...
            in a just world (try the next solar system over for that) they would be jailed...
            they will not be jailed, therefore we dont live in a just world...

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          • icon
            nasch (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 11:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Wells Fargo also plays with transaction ordering...

            I was once charged and overdraft charge where it was the overdraft charge that put me in overdraft.

            Wells Fargo once incorrectly charged me an overdraft fee. I called them up and pointed out the error, and they immediately refunded the fee. For whatever that's worth.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2016 @ 7:39am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Wells Fargo also plays with transaction ordering...

              That is an old stunt att used to do decades ago. Overcharged, and when victim pointed out, they immediately removed. The point is, 10% never did, so crooks kept the money falsely billed.

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        • icon
          streetlight (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 7:15am

          Re: Re: Wells Fargo also plays with transaction ordering...

          It seems to me credit card companies have done the same thing in order to maximize interest charges. Can't remember the exact details so maybe someone else can chime in here with the details. I think those processes have been stopped, but not sure.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 6:55am

      So, Wells Fargo had enough evidence to fire 5300 people. So we should be expecting another article soon that reads something like "5300 Former Wells Fargo Employees Charged with Identity Theft Related Fraud"? No?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        BentFranklin (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 7:22am

        Re:

        That's the comment I was waiting to see.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 6:12pm

        5300 Former Wells Fargo Employees Charged with Identity Theft Related Fraud [was Re: ]

        So we should be expecting another article soon…
        Wells Fargo settlement over phony accounts raises questions about oversight”, by Renae Merle and Jonnelle Marte, Washington Post, Sep 9, 2016
        Rather than pursuing what would have been relatively minor criminal charges against individual bank employees, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office said it pursued a civil case because it was focused on compensating bank customers. . . .

        Criminal cases “get more difficult to prove as you go up [the executive ladder],” said Frank Mateljan, a spokesman at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. “Our focus was definitely getting the culture to change and for there to be some monetary fines for allowing this to happen.”
        From a public policy standpoint, I can see reasons to keep 5300 non-violent offenders out of an overcrowded jail system.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 7:17am

      Multiply this # by perhaps 100x

      to get the # of people involved in the mortgage loan frauds (aka "liar loans") at all of the big banks a decade ago.

      It would be interesting to see how many of these 5300 employees cut their teeth on those frauds.

      There's a very real question about how a "bank" is supposed to make *any* money in a ZIRP or negative-rate world.

      Get ready for more bailouts -- another 2008-style "October surprise" ?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 7:20am

      2 rougue employees

      I understand that it was two rogue employees from Cincinnati who used to work for the IRS.

      What I want to know -- because I am directly affected by this -- is why are the fines going to the government? They weren't damaged -- I WAS!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 7:21am

      >Bloomberg has a much better article on this and they go into much more detail using facts as the basis for the story other than mainly speculation. Basically it says that the employees did it because the sales goals they had to meet were so unrealistic that they created the accounts, most which had a @wellsfargo.com email.

      I still wonder - 3500 people didn't all come up with the same idea. This wasn't one or two offices dreaming up a scam. 3500 people didn't suddenly decide faking things was the way to meet their goals. Somebody at a fairly high level somehow had to organize this in some way - either *wink* "this is one way to meet goals" or "please do this". That's the fraud that really, really needs to be investigated. I doubt that 3500 front-line bank people decided on their own that transferring money without consent was a good idea.

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    • icon
      Teamchaos (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 7:22am

      A little context please

      Wells Fargo has over 265,000 employees. 5,300 is less than 2 out of every 100 employees. Not to excuse what the bad employees did, which was despicable, but - 2 out of every 100. Can you name any organization where 2% of the employees might NOT be corruptible? Certainly not any government organization and sadly probably not most private corporations either. The path to hell is paved with situational ethics (i.e the company must want us to cheat since the goals are so unreasonable).

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 7:46am

        Re: A little context please

        There is a major difference between saying that 2% of the workforce is susceptible to blackmail/greed/corruption under the right circumstances and saying that 2% of the workforce gave in to temptation, caused substantial harm, and were undetected in this harm for an extended period. Even if we assume that a government-run criminal investigation takes 1-2 years to reach the point of filing a quality indictment, the internal controls at the bank can be as loose or as tight as management wants, subject to applicable law and regulation. As other posters have stated, the internal controls must have failed massively for it to reach this point. Either the personnel operating those controls were complicit in bypassing them or the controls are so worthless that anyone with intent can easily bypass them. Neither explanation looks good for the company.

        Companies that take anti-corruption efforts seriously go to elaborate lengths to prevent the corruption of the internal auditors because they know that the auditors are so critical to catching corruption early. I know of one place that has a standard practice that anyone who works in accounting gets reassigned to another office every X months (I forget whether X was 6, 9, 12, 24, etc.), presumably for the reason that it denies a corrupt employee the opportunity to remain hidden because, once that person rotates out (and policy says you will rotate out or be fired), if their successor is not already corrupt, the successor will start screaming about the corruption. If the successor is corrupt, then somehow, despite neither knowing the rotation, the first person corrupted the second. Now extrapolate this forward when you need a chain of corrupt employees and the rotation schedule keeps you guessing about who will fill that chair next time. It rapidly becomes untenable unless you have systemic corruption, at which point you are already screwed.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 8:44am

          Re: Re: A little context please

          Neither explanation looks good for the company.
          If the internal controls are worthless, then it also doesn't look good for any outside auditors who signed off on those controls.

          From the standpoint of letting outside auditors off the hook for this, it's much better for them if the explanation is that Wells Fargo simply lied to their outside auditors.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 9:00am

            Re: Re: Re: A little context please

            … outside auditors…
            Looking on p.263 of Wells Fargo & Company Annual Report 2015, I'm seeing KPMG's statement:
            … our report dated February 24, 2016, expressed an unqualified opinion on the effectiveness of the Company's internal control over financial reporting.
            But I haven't dug into that Feb 24, 2016 report itself, to see whether this situation, and the controls at issue here, are within the scope of KPMG's audit.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              sorrykb (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 8:02pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: A little context please

              It doesn't look like it would necessarily be within the scope of the KPMG audit.

              The customers' accounts were "real" (in the sense that they existed). They were just created without the customers' knowledge or consent.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 9:03pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A little context please

                It doesn't look like it would necessarily be within the scope of the KPMG audit.
                Well, before we hang the outside auditors…

                First, I guess, take a look at the discussion of “Cross-sell” on p.46 of Wells Fargo's 2015 annual report (part of the “Earnings Performance” discussion.)
                Products included in our retail banking household cross-sell metrics must be retail products and have the potential for revenue generation and long-term viability.
                Then on p.47
                Our retail banking household cross-sell was 6.11 products per household in November 2015, compared with 6.17 in November 2014 and 6.16 in November 2013.
                Now, I think we have good reason to believe those metrics may be tainted with fraud.

                And I tend to think Wells Fargo should have disclosed any significant issues that they were having with those metrics. Yes?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2016 @ 10:39am

                  Disclosure [was Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A little context please]

                  I tend to think Wells Fargo should have disclosed any significant issues that they were having with those metrics.
                  From Wells Fargo's Q2 2016 Form 10-Q (“Filed August 3, 2016”)(*) on p.12 (p.13 in PDF):
                  The “Earnings Performance – Operating Segments – Cross-sell” section in our 2015 Form 10-K described our methodology for measuring and tracking cross-sell metrics. As described below, in second quarter 2016 we modified our methodology for Community Banking to better align our cross-sell metrics with ongoing changes in Community Banking’s business and products. . . .

                  During second quarter 2016, we changed how we determine retail banking households within Community Banking to include only those households that maintain a retail checking account, which we believe provides the foundation for long-term retail banking relationships. Previously, retail banking households were defined as . . .

                  Our Community Banking cross-sell metrics, as revised for prior periods to conform to the current period presentation, were 6.28, 6.32, 6.31, 6.37 and 6.36 as of February 2016, May 2015 and November 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively, reflecting a one month reporting lag for each period.
                  A side-effect of this revised methodology, and correspondingly revised metrics, is concealment of any revisions necessitated by the discovery of fraud lurking within prior metrics.


                  (*) It's more convenient here to grab PDFs from Wells Fargo Investor Relations SEC and Other Regulatory Filings page than to obtain them from the SEC's EDGAR database. But, in consequence, when Wells Fargo asserts, “Filed August 3, 2016”, it's simply unverified whether the SEC agrees with that assertion. I myself have no special reason to doubt that asserted filing date.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2016 @ 5:31am

                    Re: Disclosure [was Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A little context please]

                    A side-effect of this revised methodology, and correspondingly revised metrics, is concealment of any revisions necessitated by the discovery of fraud lurking within prior metrics.
                    Wells Fargo faces scrutiny over lack of sales scandal disclosure”, by Dan Freed and Ross Kerber, Reuters, Sep 16, 2016
                    MATERIAL OR NOT?

                     . . . Spokesman Mark Folk said the bank did not believe it had to disclose information to investors ahead of the settlement.

                    "Each quarter, we consider all available relevant and appropriate facts and circumstances in determining whether a litigation matter is material and disclosed in our public filings," he said. "Based on that review, we determined that the matter was not material."
                    That response by Wells Fargo spokesman Mark Folk may have originally been in the context of a reference to—or question about Note 15 on pp.206-7 in Wells Fargo's 2015 annual report, or regarding Note 11 on p.115 (p.116 in PDF) in their Q2 2016 Form 10-Q, or concerning similar notes in other documents.

                    Iow, whether or not certain litigation should have been disclosed is a different question than whether or not fraud in their cross-selling metrics should have been concealed.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2016 @ 8:12pm

                    Re: Disclosure [was Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A little context please]

                    I tend to think Wells Fargo should have disclosed any significant issues that they were having with those metrics.
                    . . . .
                    Looking over the threading, I'm going to place this item here, and extract the portion that goes directly to “disclosure”.

                    Merkley, Warren, Menendez Urge SEC Investigation of Wells Fargo for Misleading Investors and Violating Whistleblower Protections”, Sen Merkley press release, Sep 29, 2016
                    . . . the Senators requested SEC investigations into whether the bank violated the law in three separate areas:
                    1. …
                    2. Whether Wells Fargo committed securities fraud by failing to disclose problems with fake accounts at the same time as they were promoting their high account-creation numbers as a reason to invest in Wells Fargo;
                    3. …
                    The full text of the Senators’ letter to the SEC follows below. . . .
                    With this letter, the senators have requested investigation by the SEC of Wells Fargo. That's not quite the same as a group of senators exercising oversight over the SEC by investigating how the SEC carries out its regulatory function.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2016 @ 6:34pm

                    Re: Disclosure [was Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A little context please]

                    A side-effect of this revised methodology, and correspondingly revised metrics, is concealment of any revisions necessitated by the discovery of fraud lurking within prior metrics.
                    Wells Fargo's Oct 14, 2016 Form 8-K includes the company's Q3 2016 earnings release. (That press release is also available as a PDF from Wells Fargo's website.) From p.8 of the earnings release:
                    ◦ Retail Banking household cross-sell ratio of 6.25 products per household, compared with 6.33 year-over-year[Note 8][Note 10]
                    Selecting notes from the bottom of that page:
                    [Note 8] Data as of August 2016, comparisons with August 2015.

                    [Note 10]  . . . . This change in methodology was the result of a long-term evaluation spanning 18 months to best align our cross-sell metric with our strategic focus of long-term retail banking relationships. Prior period metrics have been revised to conform with the updated methodology. Cross-sell metrics have not been adjusted to reflect the de minimis impact of approximately 2.1 million potentially unauthorized accounts identified in a review by an independent consulting firm. The maximum impact of these accounts to this reported metric in any one quarter was 0.02 products per household, or 0.3 percent.
                    And from the 3Q16 Quarterly Supplement, at the bottom of p.4 (p.5 in PDF from Wells Fargo website):
                    • At no one time were all of the identified accounts included in our reported cross-sell ratio
                    At the very least, the timing of this “result of a long-term evaluation spanning 18 months” appears awfully fortuitous. If someone was looking to intentionally conceal fraud in these metrics—well, this just stinks to high heaven. There's no way to sugar-coat it. This has a stench.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2016 @ 7:12pm

                      Re: Re: Disclosure [was Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A little context please]

                      Small Cross-Sell Impact, but Big Reputational Hit”, by Michael Rapoport, Nasdaq.com headlines (Dow Jones Business News), Oct 14, 2016
                      "While...the impact on our cross-sell ratio was not material, the implications for our company and on the trust of our customers are significant," Timothy Sloan, the bank's new CEO, told analysts on a conference call Friday. A Wells Fargo spokesman declined to comment further.
                      (Paywalled version, with a ¶ 3, at: “Small Cross-Sell Impact, but Big Reputational Hit”, WSJ, Oct 14, 2016.)

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2016 @ 9:10pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Disclosure [was Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A little context please]

                        "While...the impact on our cross-sell ratio was not material, the implications for our company and on the trust of our customers are significant," Timothy Sloan, the bank's new CEO, told analysts…
                        Wells Fargo & Company's (WFC) CEO Timothy Sloan on Q3 2016 Results - Earnings Call Transcript”, Seeking Alpha, Oct 14, 2016
                        [Timothy Sloan: . . . .] While the revenue generated was small relative to our annual income and the impact on ratio was not material, the implications for our company and on the trust of our customers are significant.
                        (Speaker id continued from page linked above. Quote is on p.2.)

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2016 @ 9:05am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A little context please

                It doesn't look like it would necessarily be within the scope of the KPMG audit.
                From the “Comptrollers Findings” in Article I of the OCC Consent Order for the Assessment of a Civil Money Penalty (Sep 6, 2016), under (2)(e) on p.3:
                The Bank’s audit coverage was inadequate because it failed to include in its scope an enterprise-wide view of the Bank’s sales practices.
                Similarly from the “Comptrollers Findings” in Article I of the OCC Cease and Desist Order (Sep 6, 2016), under (2)(e) on p.3:
                The Bank’s audit coverage was inadequate because it failed to include in its scope an enterprise-wide view of the Bank’s sales practices.
                (Links via Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) Sep 8, 2016 press release.)

                I wouldn't necessarily read these findings as reason to let KPMG skate over their “unqualified opinion on the effectiveness of the Company's internal control over financial reporting.” Rather, the OCC seems to be finding inadequate or ineffective practices here.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 7:47am

        Re: A little context please

        I'd guess the percentage is probably higher - a lot of those 265,000 employees were probably not in a position to commit the fraud and/or not under the pressure to sell that caused it.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2016 @ 9:52am

        Re: A little context please

        Oookay.

        Wells Fargoe was also a big player in the 2008 Real Estate mortgage derivative scam, which was basically an act of economic terrorism against the United States.

        Hows that for a little context?

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    • icon
      yankinwaoz (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 9:00am

      Bonus as the motivation? Seriously. I think the motivation was to keep from being let go. Fail to meet your quota, out the door you go.

      There are lots of layoffs in the banking industry. Everyone is scared.

      These staff know that getting a new job is very difficult. They have mouths to feed. We don't have a nice safety net in the US. So they do what they have to do to live another day.

      The management met their numbers, got their bonus. The fallout is tomorrow's problem.

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    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 9 Sep 2016 @ 9:03am

      I would bet my life savings that the person in charge of this scam got a pay raise instead of being fired.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 9:45am

      Pretty much discredits Lifelock

      (Yeah, I know, this is hardly the first thing to do that.)

      But consider: the number of victims of this scam is huge. If Lifelock actually had any clue, they would have observed this in the statistics and would have deduced that there was a systemic problem affecting a lot of people who all happened to be WF customers. And of course they would have trumpeted it, because it would be a big PR win for them. But they didn't. Millions of cases of identity theft, and they completely missed it.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 10:22am

      The banks in this country have been ripping the public off for years. I hope the guilty parties are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. What a disgrace.

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    • identicon
      Mintaka, 9 Sep 2016 @ 10:55am

      "Just make it happen and don't tell me how."

      Known legally as "willful blindness", which is not a legal defense. Except for bankers, apparently.

      Another legal principle that could apply is that of "command responsibility". That means that those in charge are responsible for what happens under their command that they should have known about, even if they didn't. Apparently, this one doesn't apply to bankers either.

      Must be nice to be a banker.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 11:34am

      You have new mail

      Buried down in a Wells Fargo press release, (and little mentioned in the reporting I've seen) is a new technical measure that Wells Fargo suggests will remediate the failure of their prior controls.

      Wells Fargo Issues Statement on Agreements Related to Sales Practices”, Wells Fargo Press Release, Sep 8, 2016
      Our commitment to addressing the concerns covered by these agreements has included:
       . . .
      • Sending customers a confirming email within one hour of opening any deposit account, and sending an application acknowledgement and decision status letter after submitting an application for a credit card.”
      (H/T MarketWatch / Philip van Doorn)

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 11:40am

        Re: You have new mail

        Sending customers a confirming email within one hour of opening any deposit account,

        Which is a fat lot of use when an employee rather than the customer controls the email address.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 12:15pm

          Re: Re: You have new mail

          Sending customers a confirming email within one hour of opening any deposit account,
          Which is a fat lot of use when an employee rather than the customer controls the email address.
          Yeah. Via today's popular Bloomberg story by Matt Levine, quoting from the May 14, 2016 California v Wells Fargo complaint (¶ 32)—
          To bypass computer prompts requiring customer contact information, bankers impersonate the customer online, and input false generic email addresses such as 1234@wellsfargo.com, noname@wellsfargo.com, or none@wellsfargo.com to ensure that the transaction is completed, and that the customer remains unaware of the unauthorized activity.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 12:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: You have new mail

            May 14, 2016 California v Wells Fargo complaint (¶ 32)
            Whoops. Wrong day. And Wrong year. Should read:
            May 4, 2015 California v Wells Fargo complaint (¶ 32)
            I regret the error.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 12:36pm

          Re: Re: You have new mail

          Sending customers a confirming email within one hour of opening any deposit account,
          Which is a fat lot of use when an employee rather than the customer controls the email address.
          Also linked in Matt Levine's Bloomberg story… From the Sep 8, 2016 CFPB Consent Order
          12. Respondent’s employees used email addresses not belonging to consumers to enroll consumers in online-banking services without their knowledge or consent.

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    • identicon
      Djamboulian, 9 Sep 2016 @ 11:55am

      SCAM continued.

      Dears, This is not the only way this Bank got millions from his customers but also through hacking of emails and asking to transfer large amounts to supposedly "new accounts".

      Recently we won back a hacking done through this bank and just got our money back on the same day this scam was exposed.

      185 M. is not enough, they should be fined at least 10 B. as they have 'harvested' through unauthorised and fake accounts much more.

      Regards.

      Regards.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 12:11pm

      Controls: Why have them, increase productivity.

      For many years, I have watched as multiple industries younger employees complain about the number of steps they have to take to accomplish simple tasks. They think they have found a way to increase productivity. They go to clueless new hire middle management and convince them of this. This middle management instead of asking why are we doing things this way, maybe i should research it before changing it, just does it. They all congratulate each other. It generally takes a year or two before someone figures out that they can then cheat the system, and another year before it becomes so widespread that it is noticed or something blowsup. But invariably its discovered that those steps were put in place to stop some past fraud/issue, usually the same fraud/issue that just blewup in their faces.

      I am all for streamlining processes, but you dont just remove steps without understanding why they were put there and what they do. Automate, streamline, but keep the purpose and objective for them.

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    • identicon
      Miko, 9 Sep 2016 @ 3:10pm

      "The thing is, if 5,300 employees were a part of this, this was not some random scam."

      There are already two mentions of "incentive structure" in the comments, but a statement like this merits saying it a third time.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2016 @ 5:53pm

        Incentive Structure [was Re: ]

        There are already two mentions of "incentive structure" in the comments, but a statement like this merits saying it a third time.
        In the article up above, Mike linked to this morning's CNN Money story by Matt Egan (Sep 9, 2016 - 8:08 AM ET).

        This afternoon Matt Egan has another CNN Money story, “Workers tell Wells Fargo horror stories” (Sep 9, 2016 - 4:24 PM ET)
        Employees and the California lawsuit both allege that higher-ups at Wells Fargo also share in the blame for the fraud.

        Wells Fargo has "known about and encouraged these practices for years," the California lawsuit said.
        I linked to the May 4, 2014 California complaint once already in an earlier comment.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Former WF Manager, 10 Sep 2016 @ 3:19am

      Just Scratching The Surface

      As a former WF manager I can tell you, this is not at all a surprise. Wells puts more sales presure on its retail team than any bank in the country. Upper level management will say act with integrity, but give the nod to those that are somehow hitting the crazy numbers. Those that don't comply with the gaming or dare to report the bad behaviors are put in a corner. The worst players get promoted to higher positions. So what do you think will happen if you allow the prisoners to be guards and wardens? The district level managers and area presidents need to be held accountable. This thing is way larger than you think.

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    • identicon
      arthur kuntz, 10 Sep 2016 @ 6:13am

      scandal

      Why would the bank have to pay a fine if it was the workers fault! why not fine the workers then fire them since everything was there fault!something seems fishy to me.
      fine the big wigs then fire the workers and it looks like were doing a good job.Take your money out of wells fargo to do the safe thing.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2016 @ 7:44am

      LA City Attorney settlement

      The news media has mostly headlined the settlement with the federal CFPB.

      LA City Attorney's page on the Wells Fargo settlement
      In May, 2015, following an extensive investigation precipitated by this report in the Los Angeles Times, the Office of City Attorney Mike Feuer sued Wells Fargo over allegations of opening unauthorized accounts. . . .

      On September 8, 2016, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced that this lawsuit has been settled, and as a result, Wells Fargo will provide restitution to affected customers and pay $50 million in civil penalties, the largest such payment in the history of the City Attorney’s office. Read the settlement here. . . .
      Reading the settlement, I'm seeing the $50 million split half to the city and half to the county.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2016 @ 3:29pm

        Re: LA City Attorney settlement

        LA City Attorney's page on the Wells Fargo settlement
        Webpages like these have a tendency to disappear over the years with eventual changes in elected officials, and subsequent site redesigns. Further, neither the LA City Attorney's page on the settlement, nor that office's Sep 8, 2016 press release seem to render using the WayBack Machine.

        Here are some webpage snapshots:
        LA City Attorney webpage on Wells Fargo settlement [archive.is]
        LA City Attorney press release announcing settlement [archive.is]
        Sep 1, 2016 settlement [archive.is: pdf rendered by google cache]
        The third item on that list, an archived copy of the Google cache rendering(*) of a PDF containing the “[PROPOSED] STIPULATED FINAL JUDGMENT” “dated September 1, 2016” would probably never be a preferred way to obtain a copy of that document. It's archived, though, to show the target of the links labeled as the actual ‘settlement’ on the webpage and in the press release—it's accessible through active hyperlinks in the archived copies of those first two resources, with anchor text variously:
        • “Read the settlement here”
        • “Read the Wells Fargo settlement”
        • “Click here to read the settlement”
        (Quoted anchor texts are not active hyperlinks in this post!)


        (*) This is the automagic way archive.is handles PDFs.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2016 @ 5:56pm

      WF Community Banking Exec Retirement

      From the “Comptrollers Findings” in Article I of the OCC Consent Order for the Assessment of a Civil Money Penalty (Sep 6, 2016), in (2)(a) on p.2:
      The incentive compensation program and plans within the Community Bank Group were not aligned properly with local branch traffic, staff turnover, or customer demand, and they fostered the unsafe or unsound sales practices described in Paragraph (3) of this Article and pressured Bank employees to sell Bank products not authorized by the customer.
      (Emphasis added.)

      Looking back, that finding seems to illuminate this July 12, 2016 Wells Fargo press release, “Wells Fargo’s Carrie Tolstedt to retire at year’s end; Mary Mack to succeed her as head of Community Banking effective July 31
      Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) announced today that Carrie Tolstedt, the company’s head of Community Banking, has decided to retire at year’s end after a long and successful career, and effective July 31 will be succeeded by . . .
      (Emphasis added again.)

      (H/T featured comment at Naked Capitalism.)

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2016 @ 1:00pm

        Re: WF Community Banking Exec Retirement

        Penultimate graf of today's editorial in Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, “At $185 million in fines, Wells Fargo gets off easy
        The bank said 5,300 employees involved in the scheme had been laid off since the investigation began. It would not say whether any of them had been top executives, but in July, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf announced the retirement of Carrie Tolstedt, senior vice president for community banking since 2007. Stumpf called Toldstedt, who was paid $9 million in 2015, “a standard-bearer for our culture.”
        (Embedded links https://goo.gl/GP8fNN and https://goo.gl/o9sp57 dereferenced.)

        Happy to see that Saint Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board agrees that the timing of that announcement, in light of what we now know, creates an inference.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2016 @ 3:39am

        Re: WF Community Banking Exec Retirement

        Wells Fargo Exec Who Headed Phony Accounts Unit Collected $125 Million”, by Stephen Gandel, Fortune, Sep 12, 2016
        Months ago, CEO John Stumpf praised the executive in hot water as “a standard-bearer” for the bank.

        Well Fargo’s “sandbagger”-in-chief is leaving the giant bank with an enormous pay day—$124.6 million. . . .

        Ranked 27th in 2015 on the Fortune “Most Powerful Women” list. Tolstedt was 55 years old that year.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2016 @ 5:08am

          Pay scales [was Re: Re: WF Community Banking Exec Retirement]

          Well Fargo’s “sandbagger”-in-chief is leaving the giant bank with an enormous pay day—$124.6 million. . . .

          Low bank wages costing the public millions, report says”, by Danielle Douglas, Washington Post, Dec 3, 2013
          Almost a third of the country’s half-million bank tellers rely on some form of public assistance to get by, according to a report due out Wednesday [Dec 4, 2013].

          Researchers say taxpayers are doling out nearly $900 million a year to supplement the wages of bank tellers . . .
          • The Committee for Better Banks Report: The state of the bank employee on Wall Street.

          While the report's title does indicate that this report primarily focuses on banking workers in NYC, this particular statistic applies nationwide. From the report PDF:
          Bank worker wages are so low that almost 1/3 of bank tellers receive some sort of public assistance nationwide.[Note 3]

          [Note 3] Research conducted by Dave Graham-­‐Squire, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2016 @ 11:30am

            Re: Pay scales [was Re: Re: WF Community Banking Exec Retirement]

            How Wells Fargo squeezed customers in Philly right up until this month, insiders say”, by Joseph N. DiStefano, Philly.com, Oct 10, 2016
            Effective Oct. 1, the bank confirmed, it finally scrapped its quarterly bonus incentive system, which for years rewarded cheaters.

            At Wells Fargo, a mid-ranking "Personal Banker 2," earning $40,000 to $50,000 base salary, could collect an extra $37,400 by logging new accounts, referrals, and loans . . .

            A higher-ranking "Private Banker" - earning $50,000 to $90,000 a year and holding state investment licenses - could score $60,000 in bonuses each year . . .
            This article seems to have a Philadelphia focus, rather than nationwide.

            It's really not stated exactly where these numbers are coming from, although ¶ 3 almost implies that they're from “branch employees” who've provided “internal Wells Fargo documents and sales-adventure stories”. Yet reading closely, the article doesn't precisely state that—instead it says that those sources “suggest[]” “a couple of steps”. Nitpickery, but ‘suggesting steps’ is just not the same as providing documented numbers.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2016 @ 2:08pm

          Re: Re: WF Community Banking Exec Retirement

          $124 million payday for Wells Fargo exec who led fake accounts unit”, by Matt Egan, CNN Money, Sep 12, 2016
          Wells Fargo did not comment on Tolstedt's compensation, which CNNMoney calculated from regulatory filings. Fortune previously reported on Tolstedt's huge looming payday.
          (Embedded hyperlink omitted and anchor text reformatted.)

          Nice to see that CNNMoney's calculations roughly agree with Fortune's number. There's some Twitter chatter today disagreeing with the math.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2016 @ 12:13am

            Re: Re: Re: WF Community Banking Exec Retirement

            Nice to see that CNNMoney's calculations roughly agree with Fortune's number.
            Wells Fargo Is Getting Heat -- WSJ”, by Yuka Hayashi, Dow Jones Business News, Sep 17, 2016
            According to an independent analysis conducted for The Wall Street Journal, when Ms. Tolstedt retires at year-end, she will walk away with a pay package valued at about $112.9 million. The estimate by Mark Reilly, a managing director at human-resources consultancy Overture Group LLC, reflects the value of stock and stock options as well retirement benefits for the departing Wells Fargo executive.

            (Paywalled version of story at “Lawmakers Intensify Pressure on Wells Fargo”, WSJ, Sep 16, 2016.)

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2016 @ 11:45am

          Clawback? [was Re: Re: WF Community Banking Exec Retirement]

          Wells Fargo cutting sales goals in wake of $185 million fine”, by Ken Sweet, Associated Press, Sep. 13, 2016
          Wells Fargo has refused to say if it is considering implementing its executive compensation clawback provisions regarding Tolstedt. The bank adopted a somewhat aggressive clawback provision in 2013 that would apply to Tolstedt as a highly paid executive. One of the triggers for the provision could be if the executive's business group "suffers a material failure of risk management" or misconduct that "expected to have reputational or other harm to the company."
          I don't know what document this story quotes regarding the potential clawback trigger.

          If ever there's a case for clawbacks, Wells Fargo is it: Ex-FDIC chair”, by Matthew J. Belvedere, CNBC, Sep 13, 2016
          "If you're going to use clawbacks, this would be the situation," [former FDIC Chair Sheila] Bair said . . .
          This is on top of yesterday's call for a clawback from an analyst.

          Wells Fargo’s CEO to Face Senate Panel in Cross-Selling Scandal”, by Laura J Keller and Jesse Westbrook, Bloomberg, Sep 12, 2016
          The fines “probably should lead to a pay claw-back” . . . Mike Mayo, an analyst at CLSA Ltd., wrote in a note to clients Monday.
          (I thought I had seen a report characterizing Mike Mayo as an “influential” analyst, but now I can't source that adjective.)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2016 @ 9:12am

          Re: Re: WF Community Banking Exec Retirement

          Well Fargo’s “sandbagger”-in-chief is leaving the giant bank with an enormous pay day—$124.6 million
          Via “Senators Release Wells Fargo Answers on Executive Compensation”, Sen Warren press release, Sep 20, 2016…

          From the Sep 19, 2016 letter signed by Hope Hardison (Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, Wells Fargo & Company) to Senators Warren, Brown, Reed, Menendez, and Merkley:
          Wells Fargo is aware of various reports in the media regarding Ms. Tolstedt's compensation. To clarify, Ms. Tolstedt will not receive an award of approximately $125 million in stock options and restricted stock upon her retirement. No incentive compensation was granted as a result of Ms. Tolstedt's retirement, and none of her equity awards will be “triggered” or otherwise increased or accelerated by her retirement. Ms. Tolstedt will not receive any severance pay as a result of here retirement.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2016 @ 1:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: WF Community Banking Exec Retirement

            Sep 19, 2016 letter … to Senators Warren,…
            Wells Fargo fake accounts head could still walk with $77 million”, by Matt Egan, CNN Money, Sep 28, 2016
            Carrie Tolstedt was forced by Wells Fargo (WFC) late Tuesday to forfeit $19 million in stock awards in response to a national outrage over her compensation.

            But that still leaves Tolstedt, the former head of community banking, with $43 million in Wells Fargo shares that she accumulated from her 27 years at the bank. That's based on an updated tally of Tolstedt's stock holdings that Wells Fargo recently sent Senator Elizabeth Warren.

            Tolstedt is also sitting on $34 million in stock options. . . .
            I started a new thread, down below for yesterday's news about Ms Tolstedt's forfeiture of unvested equity awards. Possibly I should've just continued that here, attempting to string together some kind of coherent flow.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2016 @ 2:55am

      "someone" needs to check into how many board members of Wells Fargo have 'unexplained' large sums of money in their own accounts.
      (Basically make a fake account - charge it overdrafts etc - "customer" complains (customer doesn't actually exist) - bank compensates the customer - money goes right into CEO and board members own accounts)

      Essentially it's embezzlement via internal systems which is a criminal offence

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2016 @ 5:55am

        Re:

        "someone" needs to check into how many board members of Wells Fargo have 'unexplained' large sums of money in their own accounts.


        They don't need to do anything that dumb when they can just get huge bonuses.

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    • identicon
      Mitch Ritter, 13 Sep 2016 @ 1:15am

      Wells Fargo Head Community Banking Gets $124 Million, Shareholders Fined $185 Million As 5300 WF Wage Slaves Lose Job

      FORTUNE MAGAZINE (reprinted on TIME Magazine's web site)
      (C) 9-12-16 by Stephen Gendel headlined: "Wells Fargo Exec Who Headed Phony Accounts Unit Collected $125 Million"

      Now, if that headline read: "Head of Wells Fargo Receiving $124 Million While Shareholders Fined $185 Million"

      WF CEO's Name Rhymes With Mein Trumpf

      Familiarize yourselves with the term: CLAW BACK
      When Commie Rags like FORTUNE & TIME (LLC) start flinging it around, even the cronies in Crony Capitalism have shown they are mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore... The Pathetic Body Politic without one broadcast channel not captured by corporate underwriting and so without any ability to use Mass Communications to educate and inform the body politic while being insulated from MARKET FORCES illustrates to what degree the corporate coup is indeed complete.

      If you already know about the work of such journalists and academics who've written and spoken on this, like Chris Hedges, Sheldon Wolin, Gretchen Morgenson, James Stewart, Alfred Stieglitz, Nouriel Rubini, Richard Wolff and Neo-Liberal E-CON OUTCOME Analysts such as Canadian journalist Naomi Klein (CBC is insulated from MARKET FORCES) nothing about demanding CLAW BACK as a token first step DEMAND TO RESTORE THE SOCIAL CONTRACT.

      Just as soon as U.S. Taxpayers Claw Back Former Clinton Treasury Secretary turned Citi Bancorp Exec Robert Rubin's $126 Million Dollar Compensation Package, as Wikipedia reports on his Wiki page:
      " He (Robert Rubin) received more than $126 million in cash and stock during his tenure at Citigroup,[5] up through and including Citigroup's bailout
      by the U.S. Treasury."

      {Creative Commons Copyright}
      Mitch Ritter
      Lay-Low Studios Media Discussion List
      Ore-Wa

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2016 @ 8:51am

      10% Managers

      It seems like among the 5,300 employees, management should be in serious trouble as well.
      According to a USA Today story by Mike Snider, “Wells Fargo cuts bank sales goals after $185M fine for fake accounts” (Sep 13), this morning Wells Fargo CFO John Shrewsberry spoke at Barclays' 2016 Global Financial Services Conference in New York. The report relays:
      Of the 5,300 employees fired in connection with the activity, 10% were managers or higher-level employees.
      It further quotes Shrewsberry, "The analysis with all the data is still ongoing."


      The Barclays 2016 Global Financial Services Conference is noted on Wells Fargo's Investor Events and Presentations webpage, with additional links, including a webcast link.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 12:07pm

      111 !!! 111 !!! 111 !!! 111 !!! 111 !!! 111 !!! 111 !!! 111 !!! 111 !!! 111 !!! 111 !!!

      Artistically speaking, I must confess a certain irrational sense of aesthetic propriety looking at “
      Holy Crap: Wells Fargo Has To Fire 5,300 Employees For Scam Billing (111)
      But as that marches down the sidebar, pegged to this comment, off into the archives, the story has continued to evolve.

      Next Tuesday, we'll be looking at Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf sitting in the hotseat before a Senate committee. Yesterday, he went on the interview circuit.

      All but one paragraph of yesterday's Wall Street Journal article by Emily Glazer And Christina Rexrode, “Wells Fargo CEO Defends Bank Culture, Lays Blame With Bad Employees” (Sep 13, 2016), is available today outside the WSJ paywall at “Wells Boss Says Staff At Fault For Scams -- WSJ” (Dow Jones Business News, Sep 14, 2016).

      Stumpf's Mad Money interview with Jim Cramer yesterday is available today on CNBC's YouTube channel.

      Those interviews got a fair amount of attention yesterday. It'll be interesting to contrast them against how he performs in front of a Senate committee.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2016 @ 7:41am

        Stumpf interview transcript [was Re: 111 !!! 111 !!! ...]

        Stumpf's Mad Money interview with Jim Cramer yesterday…
        Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf talks with CNBC's Cramer: 'I'm accountable'”, CNBC, Sep 18, 2016
        Last week, Jim Cramer sat down with embattled Wells Fargo chief John Stumpf in the wake of allegations the bank took advantage of customers. . . .
        Article contains “the full transcript” of the Sep 13, 2016 Mad Money interview with Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 2:23pm

      Rumors and style

      Federal Prosecutors Investigating Wells Fargo Over Sales Tactics -- 2nd Update”, by Emily Glazer and Christopher M. Matthews, Dow Jones Business News, Sep 14, 2016
      A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo declined to comment. A spokesman for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney declined to comment. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California wasn't immediately available to comment.



      Hey, as long as we're down here in the archives, we might as well talk about a style issue that's been kind of nagging at me for awhile.

      OK—the basic rule(*) is that a periodical, such as the Wall Street Journal, gets italicized. But a wire service, such as Dow Jones Business News, doesn't. Extending that onto the World-Wide Web, a website like Techdirt gets treated like a periodical publication—except when it occurs as part of anchor text—which is usually presented as underlined (which is equivalent to italics).

      Now, those rules get a little confusing when a story appears on the Associated Press website. And it gets worse when a Dow Jones News Service story appears on the NASDAQ website. So maybe it's time for a little rethink on this.

      Anyone down here in the archives want to weigh in on this really important style issue?


      (*) Basic rule: Except when I mess up. Then the basic rule is do it twice and call it jazz. (No. That one —two— really was unintentional.)

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 4:24pm

        Re: Rumors and style

        Wells Fargo Subpoenaed in Sham Account Case”, by Ben Protess, Matthew Goldstein, and Michael Corkery, New York Times, Sep 14, 2016
        A spokesman for Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney in Manhattan, did not respond to a request for comment. Representatives for the United States attorneys in the Western District of North Carolina and San Francisco also did not respond.
        This story adds Western District of North Carolina to non-responding list.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2016 @ 6:43pm

        Wednesday morning email [was Re: Rumors and style]

        Last Wednesday (Sep 14) —before various unnamed “sources” leaked news that federal prosecutors were investigating Wells Fargo— some stories focused on an email Wells Fargo had sent to its customers that morning.

        Typical of the coverage was, “Wells Fargo CEO calls bank’s conduct ‘unacceptable’ in note to customers”, by Rick Rothacker, Charlotte Observer, Sep 14, 2016.

        While many of these stories quoted that email partially, I saw none at all that reproduced or linked to a copy of the email in full. One place that did, though, was Joe Crawford's ArtLung blog. Another was this Naked Capitalism comment.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 3:53pm

        Re: Rumors and style

        September 19th letter from Sen Bernie Sanders to Director Cordray (CFPB) and Comptroller Curry (OCC) enquiring whether either of their agencies have “made any criminal referrals to the Department of Justice regarding this matter?”


        (H/T “Sanders: Is the Justice Department probing Wells Fargo?”, by Peter Schroeder, The Hill, Sep 19, 2016)

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2016 @ 12:15pm

        Form 8-K Current Report [was Re: Rumors and style]

        Wells Fargo Form 8-K ( “Filing Date 2016-09-28” ): Item 8.01. Other Events. ( “Date of Report (date of earliest event reported): September 27, 2016” ):
        Federal, state and local government agencies, including the United States Department of Justice, and state attorneys general and prosecutors’ offices, as well as Congressional committees, have undertaken formal or informal inquiries, investigations or examinations relating to certain sales practices of the Company that were the subject of settlements with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney announced by the Company on September 8, 2016. The Company has responded, and continues to respond, to requests from a number of the foregoing seeking information regarding these sales practices and the circumstances of the settlements and related matters. A number of lawsuits have also been filed by non-governmental parties seeking damages or other remedies related to these sales practices.


        (H/T Wall Street Journal / Emily Glazer.)

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2016 @ 9:05am

          Senators write to DoJ [was Re: Form 8-K Current Report][was Re: Rumors and style]

          Federal, state and local government agencies, including the United States Department of Justice, and state attorneys general and prosecutors’ offices, as well as Congressional committees, have undertaken formal or informal inquiries, investigations or examinations…
          Hirono, Senate Democrats Call for Justice Department to Hold Wells Fargo Executives Accountable”, Senator Mazie K. Hirono press release, Oct 5, 2016
          The letter was signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

          The full letter is printed below:

          Dear Attorney General Lynch:

           . . . .
          According to Google News right now, the top-most relevant ”recent” news for “wells fargo” is the ABC News story by Paul Blake, “Senators Call on Justice Department to Investigate Wells Fargo's Top Brass” (Oct 5, 2016). Also, according to Google News, this ABC News story is the most relevant “wells fargo” news result in the “past 24 hours”, “past week”, “past month”, and “past year”.

          Microsoft's Bing news search agrees that the ABC News story is the “best match” for “wells fargo” in the “past hour”, “past 24 hours”, “past 7 days”, and “past 30 days”. Curiously, it's only in 2nd place on the default “any time” list.

          Imo, perhaps the best —or at least the most noteworthy— of the early stories about Senator Hirono's press release is Chris Morran's Consumerist story, “14 Senators Agree: DOJ Needs To Investigate, Prosecute Wells Fargo Executives” (Oct 5, 2016)
          The Justice Department is already looking into this mess, but because of the DOJ’s recent history of not prosecuting top financial executives, the group of lawmakers, led by Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, sent a letter [PDF] yesterday to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, calling on the DOJ to make sure that both Wells Fargo and the individuals responsible are held accountable.
          The PDF copy of the letter linked in Morran's story reveals that the letter is dated Oct 4, 2016. That fact isn't apparent from Senator Hirono's press release today.

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    • identicon
      Linda, 15 Sep 2016 @ 4:26pm

      Wells Fargo

      How do we know if we were scammed by these 5,300 people?

      Thanks.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2016 @ 4:42pm

        Consumer Questions [was Re: Wells Fargo]

        How do we know if we were scammed by these 5,300 people?
        Have questions? Start here.
        Whether you have questions about the CFPB or about a consumer financial product or service, or you want to submit a complaint, start here. We’ll point you in the right direction.

        Phone
        (855) 411-CFPB | (855) 411-2372
        TTY/TDD: (855) 729-CFPB | (855) 729-2372
        8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2016 @ 11:27am

          Re: Consumer Questions [was Re: Wells Fargo]

          How do we know if we were scammed by these 5,300 people?
          (855) 411-CFPB
          So Linda—— did you call up the CFPB and ask them your question? What did they tell you?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2016 @ 8:18am

            Interview with CFPB official [was Re: Re: Consumer Questions][was Re: Wells Fargo]

            … did you call up the CFPB and ask them your question? What did they tell you?
            This is not directly responsive to Linda's question. But I'm threading it in here —under a changed subject line— because it is part of what the CFPB is telling people. This article contains embedded audio, and a transcript.

            Federal Investigator Outlines Probe Into Wells Fargo”, NPR, Sep 16, 2016
            NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Jeff Ehrlich, deputy enforcement director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, about the investigation into Wells Fargo. . . .
            Worth highlighting—
            EHRLICH: Our role here is to make things right by consumers, to make markets safer for consumers. If something is happening and consumers are being hurt, we want to stop it. And to the extent that folks have been hurt, we want to get them their money back. . . .

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2016 @ 10:09am

      Outside consultants

      Wells Fargo Tripped By Its sales Culture -- WSJ”, by Emily Glazer, Dow Jones Business News, Sep 17, 2016
      Despite the warnings, some bank executives noticed around 2009 and 2010 an uptick in bad sales behavior . . .

      About a year later, employee-satisfaction surveys done for Wells Fargo by research firm Q & A Research Inc. showed that some bank employees felt uncomfortable about what managers had asked them to do or when pushing customers to buy products, says Shannon Purvis, who reviewed some of the surveys while working at Q & A. She no longer works there. The research firm's chief executive, Warren Pino, says its findings are confidential.

      In 2012, Wells Fargo's community-banking unit assembled a special task force . . .
      (Emphasis added.)

      Wells Fargo Tripped By Its sales Culture -- WSJ -2-
      In December 2013, . . . and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency asked the bank to hire consultants to dig deeper.

      Wells Fargo hired consulting firm Accenture and law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP to conduct an internal investigation, and Wells Fargo's board was briefed regularly about the investigation's progress, according to people familiar with the matter. . . .

      In May 2015 . . .

      Wells Fargo hired consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to do an in-depth analysis. About a dozen PwC employees worked on the project for about a year, discovering fraudulent sales practices that were prominent in Phoenix, Miami and Newark, N.J.
      (Emphasis added.)

      • Q & A Research Inc.
      • Accenture
      • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
      • PricewaterhouseCoopers

      (Paywalled version of this story at “How Wells Fargo’s High-Pressure Sales Culture Spiraled Out of Control”, WSJ, Sep 16, 2016.)

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2016 @ 2:37pm

        Condensed Chronology [was Re: Outside consultants]

        From ‘Gr-eight’ to ‘Gaming,’ a Short History of Wells Fargo and Cross-Selling”, by Emily Glazer, Wall Street Journal (“MoneyBeat” blog), Sep 16, 2016.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2016 @ 9:23am

          Dozen page report [was Re: Condensed Chronology][was Re: Outside consultants]

          “From ‘Gr-eight’ to ‘Gaming,’ a Short History of Wells Fargo and Cross-Selling”, by Emily Glazer, Wall Street Journal (“MoneyBeat” blog), Sep 16, 2016.
          Emily Glazer's “Short History” was notable for presenting an easily digestible chronology of “how the sales tactics scandal unfolded” over years.

          Public Citizen's 12-page report, by researchers Michael Tanglis and Taylor Lincoln, “The “King of Cross-Sell” and the Race to Eight” (Sep 29, 2016) is notable for precisely the opposite reason. It presents a longer, more in-depth view, focusing on one facet. The report is subtitled, “An Analysis of Wells Fargo’s Cross-Sell Numbers Since 1998”.

          Public Citizen's press release announcing the research product was headed as, “Wells Fargo’s Cross-Selling Mania Goes Back More Than 15 Years” (Sep 29, 2016). At BoingBoing, Cory Doctorow featured a graph from this report in his Oct 1, 2016 post, “Wells Fargo started demanding fraud of its employees in 1998; Illinois cuts Wells off from state business”. (BoingBoing might deserve some kind of “H/T” here, iirc, that's where I myself first became aware of this report.)

          A copy of this report is appended (p.17ff.) to Robert Weissman's prepared testimony for a now-postponed House Judiciary DoJ oversight hearing, originally scheduled for Sep 29, 2016.

          From an archival viewpoint, I'd criticize the Public Citizen report for it's use of bitly and other link-shortening services in footnotes. While the shortened hyperlinks may make the footnotes less obtrusive, and more aesthetically pleasing, this will probably create some minor headaches for any future researcher struggling against link-rot in coming years. The whole point of a citation is to make the resource findable. Stuff moves around on the web.

          Finally, I'll just briefly extract—
          According to a recent survey by consulting firm A.T. Kearney, “On average, bank customers had 2.71 products at their primary bank.” [Footnote 70]
          Some little time ago, I had briefly considered extracting that statistic here, from a WSJ article.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2016 @ 11:18am

      Customer lawsuit

      I suppose this item just barely meets the threshold to be worth noting here. As I mentioned earlier, I'm filtering the news on this topic rather heavily, attempting to pick out items of interest, rather than attempting complete coverage. But, if nothing else, I can close these browser tabs after posting this.

      Wells Fargo faces proposed class action over bogus accounts”, by Karen Freifeld, Reuters, Sep 16, 2016
       . . . The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Utah, and seeks class-action status on behalf of hundreds of thousands of customers nationwide. . . .

      The case is Mitchell et al v. Wells Fargo Bank NA et al, U.S. District Court, District of Utah, No. 16-00966.

      Wells Fargo Slammed in Customer Suit Over Account Abuses”, by Laura J Keller and Kartikay Mehrotra, Bloomberg, Sep 16, 2016
       . . . what may be the first of many lawsuits to come . . .

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2016 @ 7:01pm

        Recent related lawsuits [was Re: Customer lawsuit]

        . . . what may be the first of many lawsuits to come . . .
        Wells Fargo problems far from over as investigations and lawsuits expand”, by Jana Kasperkevic, The Guardian, Oct 1, 2016
        In addition to Polonsky’s lawsuit on behalf of employees fired for not meeting quotas, other lawsuits by shareholders, investors and customers were filed in September.
        The third link in that embedded list points to the same Sep 16, 2016 Bloomberg story cited up in the parent post.

        Polonsky v Wells Fargo complaint (Cal. Super. Ct. L.A. County; filed Sep 22, 2016)

        (Copy of Polonsky complaint courtesy NPR / Camila Domonoske.)

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2016 @ 9:01pm

          Re: Recent related lawsuits [was Re: Customer lawsuit]

          …other lawsuits by shareholders, investors…
          And another one— Hefler v. Wells Fargo & Company, et al. (N.D.Cal., 16-cv-05479, complaint filed Sep 26, 2016).

          (Sep 27, 2016 Reuters story.)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2016 @ 5:31am

          Re: Recent related lawsuits [was Re: Customer lawsuit]

          In addition to Polonsky’s lawsuit on behalf of employees fired for not meeting quotas, other lawsuits by shareholders, investors and…
          Yesterday Twin Cities TV station KSTP, in a story credited to Josh Rosenthal, “Lawsuit: 'Criminal Epidemic' Put Wells Fargo Employee's Retirement Plans at Risk” (Oct 10, 2016), published a copy of another federal complaint.

          Allen v Wells Fargo complaint (D.Minn, 16-cv-03405, filed Oct 7, 2016)

          This one is a proposed class action on behalf of:
          All persons who were Participants of the Wells Fargo & Company 401(k) Plan at any time between January 1, 2014 through the present (the “Class Period”) and whose Plan accounts suffered losses, as defined by ERISA, through investments in Wells Fargo common stock (the “Class”).
          (Complaint ¶ 160.)

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 11:50am

            Re: Re: Recent related lawsuits [was Re: Customer lawsuit]

            Allen v Wells Fargo complaint (D.Minn, 16-cv-03405, filed Oct 7, 2016)
            Another proposed class action on behalf of participants in the Wells Fargo 401(k) plan.

            Fletcher v Wells Fargo et al complaint (D.Minn, 16-cv-03495, filed Oct, 14, 2016)

            From ¶ 28 (p.9) of the complaint, the proposed class is:
            All persons, except Defendants and their immediate family members, who were participants in or beneficiaries of the Wells Fargo & Company 401(k) Plan at any time between January 1, 2011 and September 8, 2016, inclusive, and whose Plan accounts included investments in Wells Fargo Stock.
            (Footnote 3 omitted; the footnote claims plaintiff may modify class period.)


            Via “Second Wells Fargo Stock Drop Complaint Filed”, by John Manganaro, planadvisor, Oct 17, 2016.
            The allegations in the suit follow the classic pattern of so-called “stock drop” litigation, and they follow a similar complaint filed against Wells Fargo just last week in the same jurisdiction, with some important differences.
            (One of two embedded hyperlinks omitted.)

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2016 @ 11:11pm

        Re: Customer lawsuit

        Mitchell et al v. Wells Fargo Bank NA et al
        Mitchell et al v Wells Fargo Bank NA et al complaint (D.Utah, 16-cv-00966, filed Sep 16, 2016)

        (Via Los Angeles Times / Michael Hiltzik.)

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2016 @ 5:42am

          2015 customer lawsuit status [was Re: Re: Customer lawsuit]

          (Via Los Angeles Times / Michael Hiltzik.)
          Although Michael Hiltzik's Sep 26, 2016 column in the Los Angeles Times, “How Wells Fargo exploited a binding arbitration clause to deflect customers' fraud allegations”, links to a few of the case documents in this 2015 case, it also contains something of an overgeneralization about the current status of this case. Hiltzik's column says:
          Lawyers for Jabbari and Heffelfinger were prepared to appeal Chhabria’s ruling, but they settled with the bank first.

          Keller Rohrback case page: Jabbari, et. al. v. Wells Fargo & Company and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A (N.D.Cal., 15-cv-02159-VC) [9th Cir. No. 15-17099].
          Case Status

          On September 23, 2015, the district court overseeing the proposed class action case granted Wells Fargo’s request to force the plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims. Plaintiffs appealed that decision. While the appeal was pending, the parties began settlement discussions. On September 8, 2016, the parties notified the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that they had reached a settlement, and they asked the appellate court to send the case back to the district court so the parties could seek approval of their settlement. . . 
          Stipulation to dismiss appeal without prejudice (9th Cir., 15-17099, dkt 22-1, Sep 8, 2016).


          California lawmakers denounce Wells Fargo at hearing, call for statewide banking reform”, by James Rufus Koren, Los Angeles Times, Oct 11, 2016
          [Wells Fargo executive David] Galasso said the bank also has agreed to a settlement that will cover all customers affected by the more than 2 million potentially unauthorized accounts . . .

          The deal will settle a federal class-action suit filed in San Francisco by Wells Fargo customers. Financial terms were not disclosed and it must still be approved by a judge.

          Attorneys at law firm Keller Rohrback had announced on Sept. 8 . . .
          (Emphasis added.)

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2016 @ 11:23am

        Employee lawsuits [was Re: Customer lawsuit]

        . . . what may be the first of many lawsuits to come . . .
        The Sep 10, 2016 LA Times story by James Rufus Koren, which I've already previously mentioned twice now, tells us about a 2014 case brought by nine former Wells Fargo employees, reportedly alleging “a handful of labor law violations, including wrongful termination and failure to pay overtime”. While that story does report the name of the plaintiff's attorney (“Michael P. Kade, a Los Angeles attorney”), that LA Times story doesn't inform us about the name of the court, give us the case caption, nor the exact date of filing—let alone link to an actual copy of the complaint.


        In some contrast——

        Lawmaker Presents Wells Fargo With Evidence Of Potential Account Fraud From 2007”, by Chris Morran, Consumerist, Sep 30, 2016
         . . . a lawsuit filed by six former Wells Fargo employees who accused the bank of wrongful termination.

        According to the amended complaint [PDF] from 2009 . . .
        (Embedded hyperlink copied below.)

        Finstad et al v Wells Fargo amended complaint (D.Mont, 09-cv-00046, filed Oct 6, 2009)


        ——but, again, much more typical coverage——

        Fired Manchester teller sues Wells Fargo”, by Michael L. Diamond, Asbury Park Press, Sep 30, 2016
         . . . a lawsuit filed Friday in state Superior Court said. . . .

         . . . John Tatulli, Kuter's Shrewsbury-based attorney. . . .
        (NY Daily News / Jason Silverstein.) [←Observe no “H/T”.] {←Possibly too rude, Silverstein at least links to the Asbury Park Press story.}

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2016 @ 2:10pm

          Re: Employee lawsuits [was Re: Customer lawsuit]

          ——but, again, much more typical coverage——
          Oh, for the past few days, I've had this story just sitting open in a browser tab, almost forgotten.

          Wells Fargo Workers Claim Retaliation for Playing by the Rules”, by Stacy Cowley, New York Times, Sep 29, 2016
           . . . two lawsuits that were just filed and that seek class-action status. The first was filed in Los Angeles last week by former Wells Fargo workers . . .

          On Monday, a federal lawsuit with analogous claims was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California . . .

           . .  said Jonathan Delshad, the lawyer representing the workers in both suits.
          Although that same New York Times story does go on to provide some background with good supporting links. This extract is the primary reason why I've bothered to keep that particular story open in a browser tab—
          Yesenia Guitron, a former banker, sued Wells Fargo in 2010 . . .

          In 2012, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California sided with Wells Fargo and ruled that even if its sales targets were unreasonable, the bank had the right to use them as an employment yardstick. Ms. Guitron appealed the decision and lost again — leaving her with a bill for more than $18,000 in court costs.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2016 @ 9:46am

            CBS This Morning [was Re: Re: Employee lawsuits][was Re: Customer lawsuit]

            Yesenia Guitron, a former banker, sued Wells Fargo in 2010 . . .
            Several times recently, I've mentioned that I'm filtering the news heavily. This CBS This Morning video segment belongs to a genre that I'd usually tend to filter out without comment.

            The video, about three minutes long, is embedded alongside a CBS News story today, headlined “Wells Fargo whistleblower says she flagged fraud years ago” (Oct 4, 2016). It contains an interview by CBS News correspondent John Blackstone of former Wells Fargo “Personal Banker One” Yesenia Guitron.
            I started noticing what I thought were honest mistakes. But then these honest mistakes, you know, became a very clear pattern,” Yesenia Guitron said. . . .

            “People ending up with 10-to-15 debit cards that they didn’t request,” Guitron said.

            “For one customer?” Blackstone asked.

            “For one customer,” Guitron responded.

            I'm watching this video segment, of course, not only after reading the Sep 29 New York Times story cited above, and also after having gone through —rather quickly— the court documents linked in that NYT story, but furthermore, I'm watching this CBS News video after intense immersion in better than three weeks of other media coverage of this Wells Fargo “phony accounts” story.

            My reaction to this video segment is almost certainly atypical compared to the vast majority of the audience who would encounter it, either on television or via the world wide web.

            As I said, this belongs to a genre that I'd usually tend to just filter out without comment.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2016 @ 10:57am

              Re: CBS This Morning [was Re: Re: Employee lawsuits][was Re: Customer lawsuit]

              … an interview by CBS News correspondent John Blackstone of former Wells Fargo “Personal Banker One” Yesenia Guitron.
              That CBS interview has rippled outwards.

              As Wells Fargo scandal unfolds, St. Helena whistleblower recalls ordeal”, by Howard Yune, Napa Valley Register, Oct 9, 2016
              In an interview with the Register, Guitron described . . .

              After Guitron recounted her experiences in St. Helena during a Tuesday interview for “CBS This Morning,” Wells Fargo sent the network a statement saying “ . . .

              On Friday, Wells Fargo issued a statement to the Register.

              “Wells Fargo’s culture is  . . .
              The Wells Fargo statement to the Napa Valley Register continues for four paragraphs.


              ( Btw, when using the WayBack Machine, it's possible to locate a resource first, then turn off javascript in your browser, and reload the page. Sadly, I'm a little hesitant to include this note, because some culture-destroyers would burn down a library in a stroke of petty avarice. )

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2016 @ 12:43pm

        More customer lawsuits [was Re: Customer lawsuit]

        . . . what may be the first of many lawsuits to come . . .
        Angry Wells Fargo customers try new tactic: Suing for employees’ names”, by Deon Roberts, Charlotte Observer, Oct 6, 2016
        A group of Wells Fargo customers, including one in North Carolina, has filed a lawsuit in Wake County . . .

        Five customers are named in the suit, which seeks the San Francisco-based bank’s disclosure of addresses and names of employees who opened accounts without those customers’ permission. It’s a tactic intended to maneuver around Wells Fargo’s arbitration clauses that can block customers from suing for losses incurred by unauthorized accounts, said Lew Garrison, an attorney for the customers.

        Once employee names are known, the plan is to then sue those employees, he said. . . .

        North Carolina is the second state in which attorneys are trying the strategy.

        Garrison said his firm filed a similar lawsuit last month in Georgia’s Clarke County. . . .
        The story further names one of the five plaintiffs in the Wake County, North Carolina lawsuit as Ashley Lessa. Additionally, the plaintiffs' attorney Lew Garrison's lawfirm is named as the “Alabama firm, Heninger Garrison Davis”, and that firm is working with the “Greensboro-based law firm Crumley Roberts, which filed the Wake County suit.”

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    • identicon
      tyronne jones, 17 Sep 2016 @ 7:10pm

      How do you find if you where involved in the scam by Wells Fargo

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2016 @ 8:09pm

        Another consumer question [was Re: ]

        How do you find if you where involved in the scam by Wells Fargo
        Tyronne—— perhaps you saw the phone number that I gave Linda earlier. I know that they're not answering their phones at the CFPB over the weekend. But if you're looking for advice tailored to your specific circumstances, then I can only urge you to seek the services of a competent professional.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2016 @ 2:10pm

      The Elizabeth Warren Show: Last Thursday

      • 2:29 video available at either:
      Warren Questions Whether Wells Fargo Heads Should Keep Jobs”, Bloomberg, Sep 15, 2016
      Elizabeth Warren: Something Is 'Badly Broken' at Wells Fargo”, Bloomberg channel on YouTube, Sep 15, 2016
      [Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts] comments on the fake account scandal at Wells Fargo and the potential for clawbacks on bonuses. She speaks with Bloomberg's David Gura on "Bloomberg Markets."

      • 3:40 video (insignificant differences in cutting) available from either:
      Elizabeth Warren: 'There's a serious problem with senior management at Wells Fargo' ”, CNBC, Sep 15, 2016
      Sen. Warren: Serious problem with WFC management”, MSN (CNBC), Sep 15, 2016
      CNBC's Tyler Mathisen speaks with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) about the Wells Fargo fraudulent accounts scandal ahead of the Capitol Hill hearing.

      • 7:22 video:
      Elizabeth Warren: Wells Fargo CEO needs ‘personal accountability’ ”, Fox Business channel on YouTube, Sep 15, 2016
      Senator Elizabeth Warren has some tough advice for embattled Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf as investigators examine practices at the bank.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2016 @ 2:42pm

        Re: The Elizabeth Warren Show: Last Thursday

        Elizabeth Warren Blasts Bankers: You’re Not Too Big to Jail”, by Shawn Tully, Fortune, Sep 16, 2016
        Which could cause headaches for Hillary Clinton.

        As Donald Trump might say: Pocahontas is on the warpath.

        This week, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) launched a multi-front attack . . . .

        Appearing on both CNN and CNBC . . .
        This story's statement about Sen. Warren's appearance on CNN may refer to her discussion with Jake Tapper [YouTube (Sep 9, 2016)] (also embedded in a Sep 12, CNNMoney story, which was previously linked above). A relatively quick search for other CNN video didn't turn up any from last week.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2016 @ 3:21pm

          Re: Re: The Elizabeth Warren Show: Last Thursday

          (also embedded in a Sep 12 CNNMoney story, which was previously linked above)
          And further embedded the next day in a Sep 13 CNNMoney story by Matt Egan, “Elizabeth Warren v. Wells Fargo: Senate hearing set for September 20”. I hadn't linked that particular story previously, because the news it presents was adequately conveyed through links to other news outlets.

          Here, though, I do want to note that story's headline (which is, of course, not attributable to Matt Egan)—
          Elizabeth Warren v. Wells Fargo: Senate hearing set for September 20

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 4:30pm

      Senate Committee Hearing: Stumpf Testimony

      Tomorrow's (Sep 20) hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearing, “An Examination of Wells Fargo’s Unauthorized Accounts and the Regulatory Response”, has now been divided into two witness panels.
      The witness on Panel I will be Mr. John G. Stumpf, Chairman and CEO, Wells Fargo & Company.

      The witnesses on Panel II will be: The Honorable Tom Curry, Comptroller of the Currency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; The Honorable Richard Cordray, Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Mr. James Clark, Chief Deputy, Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney.
      (Paragraph break inserted.)

      While that hearing page at the committee website does not yet provide copies of witness' written statements, several news stories state that Mr Stumpf's prepared testimony has now been made available to the media.

      In Statement to Senate, Wells Fargo Chief Is ‘Deeply Sorry’ ”, by Michael Corkery, New York Times, Sep 19, 2016
      In his testimony, which was obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Stumpf strikes a decidedly contrite tone about the scandal . . .



      ( Incidentally, the Bloomberg story, which is front page Google News right now, has a line saying:
      To read the full text of Stumpf’s remarks, click here.
      But even looking at the source for that page, I don't see a functional hyperlink there. )

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2016 @ 12:00am

        Re: Senate Committee Hearing: Stumpf Testimony

        Tomorrow's (Sep 20) hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearing, “…
        CORRECTION: Tomorrow's (Sep 20) Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing, “…

        Anyhow, while I'm updating this, I should also drop in a link to the C-SPAN webpage: Program ID: 415547-1.


        After reading Mr Stumpf's prepared testimony, as relayed by the New York Times, the most noteworthy portion seems to be the last paragraph on p.2:
        In 2013, the Sales and Service Conduct Oversight Team began its first proactive analysis of “simulated funding” across the retail banking business, reviewing employee-level data around account openings. Let me explain: “simulated funding” is a prohibited practice whereby an employee creates an account for a customer and then funds it in order to make it look as if the customer had funded the account. Based on the original proactive monitoring, our Internal Investigations team began an intensive investigation into simulated funding activity in the Los Angeles and Orange County markets. As a result of these investigations, we terminated team members for sales integrity issues.


        Compare Mr Stumpf's explanation there with the CFPB findings and conclusions in ¶ 10 on pp.4-5 of the bureau's Sep 4, 2016 Consent Order:
        Respondent’s employees engaged in “simulated funding.” To qualify for incentives that rewarded bankers for opening new accounts that were funded shortly after opening, Respondent’s employees opened deposit accounts without consumers’ knowledge or consent and then transferred funds from consumers’ authorized accounts to temporarily fund the unauthorized accounts in a manner sufficient for the employee to obtain credit under the incentive-compensation program.
        Mr Stumpf's explanation leaves out where the employee gets the money to fund the new account.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2016 @ 11:40pm

        Re: Senate Committee Hearing: Stumpf Testimony

        Transcript of Sep 20, 2016 opening statement delivered by Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

        Via today's New York Times piece,“What Stumpf Is Telling Congress About the Wells Fargo Scandal” (Sep 28, 2016), where it seems to be implied that the NYT expected Mr Stumpf to simply read his prepared written testimony in his opening oral statement last week. NYT compares the two to determine that Mr Stumpf didn't do that.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 1:32pm

          Sep 20 Senate Bank Cmte Hearing [was Re: Re: Senate Committee Hearing: ...]

          An Examination of Wells Fargo’s Unauthorized Accounts and the Regulatory Response”
          C-SPAN webpage: Program ID: 415547-1.
          How Elizabeth Warren used a new Congressional power to punish Wells Fargo”, by Ethan Wolff-Mann, Yahoo Finance, Oct 12, 2016
          [I]n revisiting how the saga unfolded, it’s clear one victor did emerge: Senator Elizabeth Warren, who used a power relatively new to Congress to —virality. . . .

          From the moment Warren began her 18-minute tirade, the wires began to buzz, and the testimony made a rare flow off C-Span . . .

           . . . in short order a Facebook video posted by Warren just after the public shaming racked up more than 11 million views . . .
          This article goes on to list a few other media outlets with Facebook video clips. If I'm totalling the numbers right, the other clips sum just shy of another 14 million views. With Sen Warren's Facebook page video clip included, in grand total, it's just short of 25 million views to date.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 10:41pm

            Backfilling [was Re: Sep 20 Senate Bank Cmte Hearing][was Re: Re: ...]

            [I]n revisiting how the saga unfolded…
            Looking back, some events take on some added significance. I had always though that this event was noteworthy, but had held off on posting about it… I'm threading it in here because chronologically, it happened after the Sep 20th Senate Banking Committee hearing.

            Wells Fargo CEO Resigns as an Advisor to the Fed”, by Lucinda Shen, Fortune, Sep 22, 2016
            On Thursday [Sep 22, 2016], Stumpf handed his resignation into the Federal Advisory Council, a group of 12 bank executives that advise the Fed board, according to a statement from a San Francisco Fed spokesperson. The CEO was appointed his role by the San Francisco Fed in 2014, though he didn’t assume his responsibilities until 2015.
            (One of two hyperlink omitted.)


            Dan Freed's Sep 22, 2016 Reuters report, “Wells Fargo CEO resigns from San Francisco Fed's advisory council”, mentions a “press release”.
            A spokesman for the San Francisco Fed declined to comment beyond a press release from the regulator announcing Stumpf's resignation.
            More than once, I have searched for this press release at the San Francisco Fed website and elsewhere —unsuccessfully. The Federal Advisory Council webpage does indeed now say, under “Members”:
            Vacant, Twelfth District
            There ought to be better primary documentation available.

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    • identicon
      Chris Lo, 21 Sep 2016 @ 7:51am

      Testimony from a former teller - My Wife

      My wife worked at Wells Fargo. Here is some information to put things into perspective that this was carried out by the low end teller but the influence was definitely from upper management.

      "Because of their flexible work hours, I worked as a teller for WellsFargo back in early 2011 while in school. It was so sales driven that everyone was required to open at least 2 new checking accounts and 1 savings account per day. People who didn't meet their daily quota were treated like crap and talked down to for being "incompetent" despite their high survey scores and excellent customer service. They even had a board of shame for those who had "low" performance in the break room. WellsFargo teaches their employees to word things in a way where people who aren't aware would be able to catch. For example, most credit cards have an APR rate of 18% - 21%. Wells teaches their employees to advertise it as "low as 12%" and customers wouldn't know the correct rate until after the account was already activated. Im not going to lie, my sales were horrible. Fortunately, I found a better job and quit after almost 2 months in that shit hole. It's unfortunate that people feel the need to do something illegal to keep a job that's not worth having. WellsFargo keeps their low level employees in check by paying them $12 per hour which is slightly higher than minimum wage. I'm not saying that the tellers should be left off the hook, but Stumpf and other senior executives should be held accountable for the mess they've caused for implementing unreasonable sales goals/demands."

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2016 @ 3:59pm

      House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Sep 29

      According to a Reuters story by Eric Walsh, “U.S. House panel to hold hearing on Wells Fargo accounts scandal” (Sep 21, 2016), the House Financial Services Committee plans to hold a hearing on the Wells Fargo matter, a bit over a week from now, on Thurs, Sep 29, 2016.

      I don't see the announcement up on the committee calendar yet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2016 @ 12:55pm

        Re: House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Sep 29

        Although the prepared witness statements are not yet posted at the House committee hearing page, the New York Times today, as they did previously with Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf's Senate committee testimony, is now publishing a copy of “Wells Fargo C.E.O.’s Prepared House Testimony” (NYT webpage framing dated Sep 28, 2016; Stumpf testimony internally dated tomorrow, Sep 29, 2016).


        (Via New York Times / Michael Corkery, Stacey Cowley, in a story about the California Treasurer's action today.)

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2016 @ 2:14pm

          Re: Re: House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Sep 29

          C-SPAN link for today's now-concluded, four-plus hours long hearing: Program ID: 415981-1.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2016 @ 9:28am

            Calls for Stumpf resignation [was Re: Re: Re: House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Sep 29]

            C-SPAN link for today's now-concluded, four-plus hours long hearing: Program ID: 415981-1.
            Yesterday, after the hearing, the Charlotte Observer's story by Deon Roberts and Rick Rothacker emphasized demands from some representatives at the committee hearing for Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf to resign his position at the bank. (“On Capitol Hill, Wells Fargo CEO hears: ‘When are you going to resign’?”, Sep 29, 2016)
            “When are you going to resign?” Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, asked in the fourth hour of the hearing before the House Financial Services Committee. “I personally don’t see how you survive,” added Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash.
            The Washington Post's “Wonkblog” story by Renae Merle, “Lawmakers to Wells Fargo CEO: ‘Why shouldn’t you be in jail?’ ” (Sep 29, 2016) reported on an exchange between New York congressman Gregory Meeks and Mr Stumpf that took place at the hearing:
            Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) said Stumpf was running a "criminal enterprise," noting the bank had been penalized multiple times during the CEO's leadership, and should step down.

            "I serve at the pleasure of the board," Stumpf responded.

            "Then the entire board needs to go," Meeks said. "Something is going wrong with this bank. If the bucks stops with you," then you should be held responsible.
            This morning, Representative Meeks repeated that call in a TV interview. (“Fire Wells Fargo CEO Stumpf, says congressman who went off at hearing”, by Matthew J. Belvedere, CNBC, Sep 30, 2016)
            Wells Fargo needs a new CEO because John Stumpf won't be able to get the banking giant back on track after the phony account scandal, House Financial Services member Gregory Meeks told CNBC on Friday. . . .

            In an interview on "Squawk Box," Meeks said . . .
            (Embedded hyperlinks omitted.)

            These demands for Mr Stumpf's resignation from representatives follow last week's fierce cry by Senator Warren in the earlier Senate committee hearing, captured in the Washington Post headline ten days ago: “ ‘You should resign': Elizabeth Warren excoriates Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf” (Sep 20, 2016).

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2016 @ 10:22am

              Re: Calls for Stumpf resignation [was Re: Re: Re: House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Sep 29]

              C-SPAN link for today's now-concluded, four-plus hours long hearing: Program ID: 415981-1.
              … demands for Mr Stumpf's resignation…
              Repunctuated from the C-SPAN closed-captioning transcript (marked as 01:10:43 and 01:11:22)—
              Gregory Meeks:  . . . Well, something is going wrong at this bank, and you are the head of it. So shouldn't the board then — from your own admission, if the buck stops with you, as you came out here and said, ”I apologize, the buck stops with me” — and you have to also admit that criminal activity was going on in your bank — then you should be fired because it stops with you.
              Wells Fargo’s Reaction to Scandal Fails to Satisfy Angry Lawmakers”, by Stacy Cowley, New York Times, Sep. 29, 2016
              “Something is going wrong at this bank, and you are the head of it,” said Gregory Meeks, Democrat of New York, adding, “You should be fired.”

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2016 @ 9:35am

              Re: Calls for Stumpf resignation [was Re: Re: Re: House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Sep 29]

              Hmmm... I picked this item up via Google news yesterday right after it was published, but due to the Techdirt site problems last night, I wound up holding off on submitting the comment. Now, in one sense, this may fall into a class of news that doesn't really figure into this story in a major way — that is, I've considered whether to just filter it out, and drop it. Otoh, this is a little weird, offbeat, and well, ‘interesting’.

              It is a story about California's 11th district congressman Mark DeSaulnier, which appears in the Richmond Standard. The story is headlined, “Rep. DeSaulnier cancels Wells Fargo account, calls for CEO’s resignation” (Sep 30, 2016), and it begins:
              Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), a member of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, announced Friday that he has cancelled his Wells Fargo account . . .
              A few paragraphs later, it goes on:
               . . . DeSaulnier canceled his account “as a signal of concern with the company” and also sent a letter to Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, calling on him to resign.
              The story embeds a full jpeg image of Rep. DeSaulnier's Sep 30, 2016 letter to Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf.

              Now, it turns out that a story published almost two weeks ago, September 23, appearing in the San Francisco Chronicle, “Politicians vow to return campaign cash to Wells Fargo” by Carolyn Lochhead, had earlier reported:
              Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, said he’s completely done doing business with the bank.

              “I used to be a Wells Fargo customer, and I have one credit card left, and I intend to chop it all in pieces and send it back to the CEO,” he said.
              Well. That's one way to call for Mr Stumpf's resignation. But it takes that long to chop up a credit card? Yes, besides that act, the congressman also had to take time to write a letter… and perhaps place his story somewhere.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2016 @ 10:45am

                Spin season [was Re: Re: Calls for Stumpf resignation][was Re: Re: Re: House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Sep 29]

                It is a story about California's 11th district congressman Mark DeSaulnier…
                In part, I thought that item was worth posting in order to segue into this next item.

                Lawmakers angry about Wells Fargo want to put down the watchdog”, by Ethan Wolff-Mann, Yahoo Finance, Sep 30, 2016
                Well, it didn’t take long for the Wells Fargo scandal to become a partisan issue.
                Stories discussing the partisan divide over the CFPB in connection with this enforcement action against Wells Fargo have appeared here and there in the media ever since the first news of the agency's record-breaking fine.

                This Yahoo Finance story, though, goes on to say:
                Consumerist, a consumer advocacy website, sought to explain why.
                Notice, that in a web article filled with hyperlinks, that Yahoo Finance story does not seem to link to the Consumerist article.

                A look through the coverage leads me to suspect that the Yahoo Finance story was referring to this article: “Lawmakers Who Received Money From Wells Fargo Now Want Answers From Bank’s CEO”, by Ashlee Kieler and Chris Morran, Consumerist, Sep 29, 2016.

                That story does contain this paragraph:
                Hensarling has been a vocal opponent of the CFPB, sponsoring multiple pieces of legislation to reshape the Bureau to be less efficient and put its budget directly under the control of Congress. He’s also, as Allied Progress points out, received more than $33,000 from Wells Fargo and its executives since 2011. According to OpenSecrets.org, Hensarling has taken in nearly half a million dollars from commercial banks and investment firms during the current election cycle alone.
                Note that the embedded OpenSecrets.org hyperlink works for me in preview, and hopefully, after submit, will faithfully reproduce what's on the Consumerist page.

                The ‘Allied Progress’ hyperlink also attempts to faithfully reproduce what I'm seeing. But it's a non-functional hyperlink. Examining the source from the Consumerist page:
                <a href="http://, who has been a vocal opponent of the CFPB, sponsoring multiple pieces of legislation to reshape the Bureau and put it more directly under the control of Congress." target="_blank" target="_blank">as Allied Progress points out</a>
                That does most probably look like something getting mangled during editing.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2016 @ 11:12am

                  Re: Spin season [was Re: Re: Calls for Stumpf resignation][was Re: Re: Re: House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Sep 29]

                  It is a story about California's 11th district congressman Mark DeSaulnier…
                  In part, I thought that item was worth posting in order to segue into this next item.
                  When I typed that, I had in mind swinging back out to this next item — an opinion piece by Robert Gebelhoff which appeared in the Washington Post yesterday, “Why congressional hearings still matter” (Sep 30, 2016).
                  We don’t watch these events for new information; rather, they’re a form of political theater. Congressional hearings — or at least, those that get media attention or make an appearance in our Facebook feeds — are no longer seen as tools to develop legislation. They are political tools to influence public opinion.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2016 @ 12:50pm

                    Re: Re: Spin season [was Re: Re: Calls for Stumpf resignation][was Re: Re: Re: House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Sep 29]

                    “Why congressional hearings still matter”
                    By way of an Amy Klochubar tweet this morning, I just found something that I had looked for unsuccessfully yesterday… the senator from Minnesota tweets an ABC News story (“Round Two: Wells Fargo CEO Faces Blistering Rebuke From Congress Again”, by Paul Blake, Sep 29, 2016) which contains:
                    “Mr. Stumpf, welcome to Washington," Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., said wryly, before noting that those assembled were "now engaged in an important national ritual where the CEO comes before the representatives of the American people to apologize, to take full responsibility, to do so humbly."
                    Yesterday, I fast-forwarded through the C-SPAN recording on my DVR, slowing to play audio at the beginning of each congressman's time, trying to recall who said that “important national ritual” bit.

                    Hmmm… now looking at the C-SPAN closed captioning (marked 00:58:29 and 00:59:29), and replaying the webcast—
                    Brad Sherman:  . . .  We're now engaged in an important national ritual where the C.E.O. comes before the representatives of the American people to apologize, to take full responsibility, to do so humbly.

                    Mr. Stumpf, welcome to Washington.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2016 @ 1:17pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Spin season [was Re: Re: Calls for Stumpf resignation][was Re: Re: Re: House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Sep 29]

                      Amy Klochubar
                      CORRECTION: Amy Klobuchar. Sorry.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2016 @ 4:07pm

                Balance [was Re: Re: Calls for Stumpf resignation][was Re: Re: Re: House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Sep 29]

                Hmmm... I picked this item up via Google news yesterday right after it was published…
                Yesterday a story was published, in various versions throughout the afternoon and evening, and into today. It's a Reuters story by Suzanne Barlyn, “Exclusive: Wells Fargo account scandal extends to small business - U.S. senator” (version marked Oct 5, 2016, 7:27am EDT). Now this story, which highlights a September 29th letter from a member of the Senate Banking Committee's Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection subcommittee and also Securities, Insurance, and Investment subcommittee, and who further happens to be the chairman of the Small Business Committee, the Senator from Louisiana, David Vitter —well, this is more significant than a story about a congressman who takes two weeks to cut up a credit card.

                But I haven't posted about this until now.

                Wells Fargo scandal affected 'thousands' of small businesses, senator says”, by Riley McDermid, San Francisco Business Times, Oct 5, 2016
                "Thousands of small business owners were impacted by this fraud," Vitter's letter said (you can read the full text of the letter here).
                The Sep 29, 2016 letter from Senator Vitter is addressed to Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2016 @ 6:14pm

            State-by-state numbers [was Re: Re: Re: House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Sep 29]

            Wells Fargo scandal may affect more than 60,000 Carolinas accounts”, by Rick Rothacker, Charlotte Observer, Sep 29, 2016
            Some members of the House Financial Services Committee asked Stumpf how many unauthorized accounts may have been created in their states, and he provided answers at the hearing. The panel included three members from the Charlotte area – Republicans Patrick McHenry, Robert Pittenger and Mick Mulvaney – but none asked for Carolinas figures.

            The bank provided the North Carolina and South Carolina numbers at the Observer’s request.
            Watching the hearing last Thursday, and listening to the by-state breakdown numbers that Mr Stumpf provided for the members who requested them, managed to bring the scale to more comprehensible levels.

            When I saw this headline, and started to read this article, at first I thought that the Charlotte Observer had obtained the North and South Carolina numbers from the hearing testimony. Of course, recent stories from other media outlets elsewhere have reported numbers that were testified to for other states.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2016 @ 2:49pm

              Re: State-by-state numbers [was Re: Re: Re: House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Sep 29]

              The bank provided the North Carolina and South Carolina numbers at the Observer’s request.
              More than 15,000 Wells Fargo accounts in Maryland could be phony”, by Holden Wilen, Baltimore Business Journal, Oct 3, 2016
              In Maryland, the San Francisco-based could not rule out the possibility that 15,391 accounts were unauthorized, said Bridget Paxton, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman.

              It was not confirmed that all of the accounts were unauthorized, she said, but 524 incurred fees. The bank decided to err on the side of the customer and issued potentially impacted customers a refund of about $25 per account.
              (Embedded hyperlink omitted.)

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2016 @ 8:22pm

      Stumpf pay cut; Tolstedt out

      Ahead of Thursday's upcoming hearing before the House Financial Services Committee…

      Independent Directors of Wells Fargo Conducting Investigation of Retail Banking Sales Practices and Related Matters”, Wells Fargo press release, Sep 27, 2016
      - John Stumpf to Forfeit Unvested Equity Awards Valued at Approximately $41 Million; Will Forgo Salary During Investigation

      - Carrie Tolstedt Has Left the Company; Will Receive No Severance; Has Forfeited Unvested Equity Awards Valued at Approximately $19 Million; Will Not Exercise Outstanding Options During Investigation

      - Neither Executive Will Receive a Bonus for 2016

      Various stories at New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today… what, maybe you were thinking I should link to stories in the financial press?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2016 @ 8:38am

        Department of Labor Review [was Re: Stumpf pay cut; Tolstedt out]

        Various stories at…Washington Post
        Also within that Washington Post story by Renae Merle yesterday, “Wells Fargo CEO to forfeit $41 million in performance pay after sales scandal” (Sep 27, 2016):
        “Given the serious nature of the allegations . . . I have directed enforcement agencies within the Department to conduct a top-to-bottom review of cases, complaints, or violations concerning Wells Fargo over the last several years,” Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in a letter released Tuesday by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who had asked the agency to look into the matter.
        (Embedded hyperlink copied below.)

        The Sep 26, 2016 letter to Sen Warren from Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez begins:
        Dear Senator Warren:

        Thank you for the letter from you and your colleagues dated September 22, asking that the Department of Labor (“the Department”) open an investigation into whether Wells Fargo has violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) with respect to its account executives, bank tellers, branch managers, and customer service representatives. . . .


        Warren Commends Labor Department's Decision to Review Potential Labor Violations by Wells Fargo”, Senator Warren press release, Sep 27, 2016
        Senators’ initial request for an investigation available here (PDF)
        That embedded link points to Sep 22, 2016 Sen Warren press release, which contains a further link to Sep 22, 2016 letter to Secretary Perez and Administrator David Weil from Senators Warren, Brown, Reed, Menendez, Sanders, Merkley, Gillibrand, and Hirono.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2016 @ 10:16am

        Re: Stumpf pay cut; Tolstedt out

        Front page Google news right now— “Stumpf Pay Surrender Buys Time But Lawmakers Say It’s Not Enough”, by Jennifer Surane and Elizabeth Dexheimer, Bloomberg, Wed, Sep 28, 2016
        The bank’s decisions were “a small step in the right direction, but nowhere near real accountability,” Warren said Thursday in an e-mailed statement . . .
        While on this side of the international date line(*)— “Reclaiming executive pay not enough for some Wells Fargo critics”, by Deon Roberts, Charlotte Observer, Wed, Sep 28, 2016
         . . . Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in a statement Wednesday. The Democrat . . . called the board’s actions Tuesday “a small step in the right direction but nowhere near real accountability.”

        (*) Actually, I do suspect Bloomberg just thinko'd here on the day of the week. That happens a bit to me too, often enough.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2016 @ 7:03am

        Re: Stumpf pay cut; Tolstedt out

        Comparing Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf's forfeiture to other companys' actions against executive compensation…

        Wells Fargo CEO’s $41 million ranks only third among executive-pay clawbacks, forfeitures”, by Francine McKenna, MarketWatch, Sep 29, 2016
        A MarketWatch analysis of forfeitures and so-called clawbacks of compensation by the Securities and Exchange Commission or by companies themselves shows that the Wells Fargo forced forfeiture of $41 million in future compensation by Chairman and CEO John Stumpf is neither the biggest nor the toughest ever. . . .
        Former Wells Fargo Community Banking head Carrie Tolstedt's $19 million forfeiture is fifth on the article's graphic captioned, “Top 5 forfeitures”.


        (Via WSJ MoneyBeat blog / John Carney.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2016 @ 7:49am

        Re: Stumpf pay cut; Tolstedt out

        USA Today puts an exclamation mark in today's article by Matt Krantz, “$134.1M! Wells Fargo CEO's retirement payout even bigger than thought” (Sep 30, 2016).
        The embattled bank's CEO, John Stumpf, is still positioned to collect pension accounts and stock valued at $134.1 million if he were to retire, according to calculations based on new data available this week by compensation consulting firm Equilar. That's even greater than the $123.6 million USA TODAY reported he was eligible to collect at the end of last year.
        That's a different way to look at it compared to the way the Wall Street Journal's Emily Glazer put it a few days ago, in an article carried by Dow Jones Business News, “Wells Claws Back CEO Pay -- WSJ” (Sep 28, 2016):
        The awards being forfeited by Mr. Stumpf represent about a quarter of the total compensation he has accrued over his nearly 35 years at the bank, according to an independent analysis by human-resources consultancy Overture Group LLC.
        (Alternatively, “Wells Fargo Claws Back Millions From CEO After Scandal”, WSJ, Sep 27, 2016. That version contains a third graf which the syndicated version omits. That cut does make the syndicated version read strangely.)

        The WSJ's “quarter of the total compensation” statistic for Mr Stumpf's forfeiture has been paraphrased a fair number of times recently.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2016 @ 8:16am

          Re: Re: Stumpf pay cut; Tolstedt out

          The WSJ's “quarter of the total compensation” statistic for Mr Stumpf's forfeiture has been paraphrased a fair number of times recently.
          Fwiw, an earlier Emily Glazer story, also carried by Dow Jones Business News, “Wells Fargo Board Considering Executive-Pay Clawbacks” (Sep 27, 2016), provided some base detail on where that ‘one-quarter’ came from:
          Mr. Stumpf's total pay package for his 35 years at the bank adds up to about $160 million, according to an independent analysis by human resources consultancy Overture Group LLC. That includes stock awards, stock options and performance shares, among other aspects of his pay package, based on the bank's Sept. 26 share price of $45, according to Mark Reilly, a managing director of Overture.
          That earlier story obviously was written before Wells Fargo announced Mr Stumpf's $41 million forfeiture.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2016 @ 2:28pm

          Equilar calculations [was Re: Re: Stumpf pay cut; Tolstedt out]

          … $134.1 million if he were to retire, according to calculations … by compensation consulting firm Equilar.
          About two weeks after Matt Krantz's Sep 30 USA Today story… a MarketWatch story by Jeremy C. Owens, “Wells Fargo CEO Stumpf walks away with up to $137.1 million” (Oct 12, 2016)—
          According to Equilar, a research firm that monitors corporate governance at publicly traded companies, Stumpf’s voluntary retirement comes with a war chest totaling $137.1 million. According to Equilar’s calculations . . .
          Both stories provide just a little more detail on the Equilar calculations. The bottom-line point here is that Equilar's total appears to be in the neighborhood of $135 million, more-or-less, give-or-take.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2016 @ 12:38pm

      California Suspension

      More front page Google News today… a Bloomberg story by Romy Varghese, “California Suspends ‘Business Relationships’ With Wells Fargo” (Sep 28, 2016):
      California, the nation’s largest issuer of municipal bonds, is barring Wells Fargo & Co. from underwriting state debt and handling its banking transactions after the company admitted to opening potentially millions of bogus customer accounts.

      The suspension, in effect immediately, will remain in place for 12 months, State Treasurer John Chiang said Wednesday. . . .
      This is a surprise to me. I did not see this suspension coming at all—until it just suddenly popped up front page Google News.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2016 @ 12:18am

        Re: California Suspension

        Treasurer John Chiang Sanctions Wells Fargo Bank for Defrauding California Customers”, California State Treasurer press release, Sep 28, 2016.

        Sep 28, 2016 letter to Wells Fargo from California State Treasurer John Chiang:
         . . . sanctions include:
        • Suspension of investments by the Treasurer’s Office in all Wells Fargo securities;
        • Suspension of the use of Wells Fargo as a broker-dealer for purchasing of investments by my office; and
        • Suspension of Wells Fargo as a managing underwriter on negotiated sales of California state bonds, where the Treasurer selects the underwriter.
        These actions will be in effect as of the date of this letter and will remain in place for one year. . . .

        (H/T “California Imposes Sweeping Sanctions On Wells Fargo Amid Scandal”, by Merrit Kennedy, NPR, Sep 28, 2016.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2016 @ 9:17pm

        Oregon [was Re: California Suspension]

        As a significant shareholder, Oregon trust funds will press for structural reforms at Wells Fargo”, Oregon State Treasurer press release, Sep 29, 2016
        State Treasurer Ted Wheeler announced today that Oregon trust funds, which hold substantial shares of Wells Fargo & Co., will press for management structure and executive compensation reforms . . .
        (H/T Reuters.)

        Earlier today, I read about some rumblings out of Florida. At the time I first saw that, it didn't seem comment-worthy here by itself.

        The Nevada State Treasurer seems disinclined to follow California's lead.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2016 @ 10:52am

          Maryland [was Re: Oregon ][was Re: California Suspension]

          Earlier …, I read about some rumblings out of Florida. At the time I first saw that, it didn't seem comment-worthy here by itself.
          Maryland, Howard County reviewing relationships with Wells Fargo”, by Holden Wilen, Baltimore Business Journal, Sep 30, 2016
          Maryland is looking into what assets and relationships Wells Fargo has with the state, said Susanne Brogan, deputy treasurer of public policy. State Treasurer Nancy Kopp will likely make a decision next week.
          That story also links to a similar story from yesterday regarding the City of Philadelphia's current review of its relationship with Wells Fargo.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2016 @ 2:35pm

            Chicago [was Re: Maryland][was Re: Oregon ][was Re: California Suspension]

            City of Philadelphia's current review
            Chicago aldermen take aim at Wells Fargo”, by John Byrne, Chicago Tribune, Sep 30, 2016
            Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, introduced a measure Friday to the Finance Committee he chairs . . .

            The powerful Southwest Side alderman, who has a reputation for introducing plans that garner media attention but don't get enacted, said the Finance Committee would consider it at a meeting Wednesday prior to the full council meeting, but did not specify whether a vote will be taken then on the measure.
            “[W]ho has a reputation for introducing plans that garner media attention but don't get enacted.”

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2016 @ 8:33am

              Re: Chicago [was Re: Maryland][was Re: Oregon ][was Re: California Suspension]

              Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, introduced a measure Friday to the Finance Committee he chairs . . .
              Chicago to Pull $25 Million From Wells Fargo Because of Scandal”, by Elizabeth Campbell, Bloomberg, Oct 3, 2016
              Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers plans to divest $25 million the city has invested with Wells Fargo & Co. . . .

               . . . according to [an e-mailed] statement from his office sent to Bloomberg News.
              Note first, that City of Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers is obviously not the actor in last Friday's story, who was Alderman Edward Burke. Second, fwiw, looking at the city treasurer's website, the latest in “Recent News” appearing there seems to be dated about seven weeks ago, “August 19, 2016”. Iow, I'm not this reported October e-mail communicated directly to the fine citizens of Chicago.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2016 @ 8:42am

                Re: Re: Chicago [was Re: Maryland][was Re: Oregon ][was Re: California Suspension]

                Iow, I'm not this reported October e-mail communicated directly to the fine citizens of Chicago.
                ^seeing

                I'm not seeing this e-mail, or any similar announcement on the Chicago Treasurer's website.

                (And I know I did type that word, when I first composed that sentence. Where did it go?)

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2016 @ 9:54am

              Re: Chicago [was Re: Maryland][was Re: Oregon ][was Re: California Suspension]

              “[W]ho has a reputation for introducing plans that garner media attention but don't get enacted.”
              Chicago Ends Business With Wells Fargo as Scandal Fallout Grows”, by Elizabeth Campbell, Bloomberg, Oct 5, 2016
              A measure, approved by the city council Wednesday with support from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will freeze the bank out of any work with Chicago, including underwriting its bonds. Before its passage, Chicago Chief Financial Officer Carole Brown said she would move quickly to terminate any deals the city has with Wells Fargo that it can without paying large penalties, including trustee agreements.

              “We do need to send the message that the city does business with those people who perform with integrity, transparency, and who hold themselves accountable for best practices because as a city we have to do that,” Brown said in an interview at City Hall.
              Just caught this a few minutes ago, and while there may be more or a better story later on—I don't see any reason to hold off posting this now.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2016 @ 11:09am

                Re: Re: Chicago [was Re: Maryland][was Re: Oregon ][was Re: California Suspension]

                “[W]ho has a reputation for introducing plans that garner media attention but don't get enacted.”
                “Chicago Ends Business With Wells Fargo as Scandal Fallout Grows”, by Elizabeth Campbell, Bloomberg, Oct 5, 2016
                Unlike the Reuters story (marked 12:54pm EDT [9:54am PDT]), or the Chicago Sun Times story (marked 11:25am [9:25am PDT]), which both mention the Chicago City Council Finance Committee chairman, Alderman Edward Burke, in contrast, the Bloomberg story cited above (marked 9:21am PDT; updated 10:18am PDT) contains a response from Wells Fargo, attributed to an e-mailed statement from bank spokesman Gabriel Boehmer.

                • “Wells Fargo Media Statement Regarding Chicago City Council Ordinance”, Business Wire, Oct 5, 2016 (1:10pm EDT [10:10am PDT]).


                (Techdirt comments are time-stamped PDT, at least as I've always seen them. I'm in that timezone now, but I don't recall seeing geolocation-based timestamping here at Techdirt when I've been in other timezones. )

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2016 @ 2:54pm

            Illinois [was Re: Maryland][was Re: Oregon ][was Re: California Suspension]

            Illinois and Chicago eye Wells Fargo business bans”, CNBC (Reuters), Sep 30, 2016
            Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs set a Monday news conference to announce "plans to suspend billions of dollars in investment activity with Wells Fargo," according to an advisory from his office on Friday.
            Hmmmm… I can't seem to confirm this report looking at the Illinois State Treasure's website. The advisory does not seem to be at the Media Center, nor is it coming up on Twitter.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2016 @ 9:22am

              Re: Illinois [was Re: Maryland][was Re: Oregon ][was Re: California Suspension]

              … looking at the Illinois State Treasure's website.
              Via the “Twitter” sidebar tab on Illinois State Treasurer Frerich's website, raw mp3 audio of this morning's press conference (description):
              Monday, October 03, 2016

              ​RAW AUDIO: Treasurer Mike Frerichs announces plans to suspend billions of dollars in investment activity with Well Fargo. Audio also includes Sen. Jacqueline Collins, Rep. Will Guzzardi, Citizen Action Illinois' William McNary and Woodstock Institute's Dory Rand.

              ( Additionally, just to clarify the record here, this morning as I'm looking at the “News“ sidebar tab on the state treasurer's website, I'm now seeing the Sep 30, 2016 Media Advisory. )

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2016 @ 10:26am

                Re: Re: Illinois [was Re: Maryland][was Re: Oregon ][was Re: California Suspension]

                (description)
                Archived copy of https://www.illinois.gov/cms/agency/media/radio/SitePages/Radio.aspx webpage.

                Somewhat incidentally, that page has been updated with a new entry since I first saw it this morning. Pulling the description from the first column of the table, this new entry looks somewhat interesting in its own right—
                Treasurer Mike Frerichs' Office suspends investment activity with Wells Fargo.
                Soundbite: Treasurer Mike Frerichs
                Pulling the vertically-stacked links out of the second column—
                Download story [mp3 audio]      • Script [archived copy]      • Soundbite [mp3 audio]

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2016 @ 11:10am

                Re: Re: Illinois [was Re: Maryland][was Re: Oregon ][was Re: California Suspension]

                (… the “News“ sidebar tab on the state treasurer's website…)
                Treasurer Frerichs Suspends $30 Billion in Investment Activity from Wells Fargo for Predatory and Illegal Banking Practices”, Office of Illinois State Treasurer press release, Oct 3, 2016
                . . . effective immediately:
                (1) Suspension of investments in all Wells Fargo debt securities for one year;
                (2) Suspension of the use of Wells Fargo as a broker/dealer for the purchase of investments for one year;
                (3) Authorized an audit to determine if improperly opening new bank accounts complied with Illinois law on returning unclaimed property to consumers. . . .

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2016 @ 12:59pm

                Re: Re: Illinois [was Re: Maryland][was Re: Oregon ][was Re: California Suspension]

                This AP story by John O'Connor, published at the ABC News website, “Illinois Suspends $30B in Wells Fargo Activity; Bank 'Sorry'” (Oct 3, 2016), contains a response from Wells Fargo—
                Wells Fargo spokesman Gabriel Boehmer noted that the problems occurred in the company's retail bank, but that its Government and Institutional Banking division has "diligently and professionally" worked with Illinois since 1970.

                 . . . Boehmer said in a written statement. . . .
                The Illinois Treasurer's Media Advisory came out last Friday. Today is Monday. I would presume Wells Fargo's PR team worked out their response over the weekend.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2016 @ 2:51pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Illinois [was Re: Maryland][was Re: Oregon ][was Re: California Suspension]

                  I would presume Wells Fargo's PR team worked out their response over the weekend.
                  Illinois suspends business with Wells Fargo”, by Mike Snider, USA Today, Oct 3, 2016
                  Late Monday, Wells Fargo spokesman Gabriel Boehmer disputed the impact of the state's decision.

                  "Respectfully, the actual amount in lost revenue for the company from business conducted with the Illinois Treasurer’s office is approximately $50,000 per year," Boehmer said.
                  “Late Monday.”

                  Illinois treasurer expects others to cut ties with Wells Fargo”, by Antonio José Vielma, CNBC, Oct 4, 2016
                  A Wells Fargo spokesman told CNBC on Tuesday the actual amount of lost revenue for the bank is only about $50,000 per year.
                  “Tuesday.”

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2016 @ 4:09pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Illinois [was Re: Maryland][was Re: Oregon ][was Re: California Suspension]

                    “Illinois treasurer expects others to cut ties with Wells Fargo”, by Antonio José Vielma, CNBC, Oct 4, 2016
                    Embedded alongside that CNBC story is video from an interview with Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerich broadcast on CNBC's Closing Bell program yesterday.

                    A video clip (2:14) from today's Closing Bell is available at MSN, “Wells Fargo: Lost revenue from Illinois $50,000 per year” (Oct 4, 2016)
                    Wells Fargo responds to Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs regarding the company's lost revenue from business conducted with the Illinois Treasurer's office.
                    (Alternatively available from Yahoo Finance.)

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2016 @ 2:34pm

            Re: Maryland [was Re: Oregon ][was Re: California Suspension]

            Maryland is looking into what assets and relationships Wells Fargo has with the state, said Susanne Brogan, deputy treasurer of public policy.
            Updating what we were told last Friday, reporter Holden Wilen has a new story today in the Baltimore Business Journal, “Hamilton Bank CEO on Wells Fargo: 'Unfortunately we were all painted with the same paintbrush' ” (Oct 3, 2016)
            Maryland's treasury office has determined it does not have any underwriting or securities contracts with Wells Fargo. . . .

            Susanne Brogan, deputy treasurer of public policy, said several state agencies have banking relationships with Wells Fargo. The treasurer's office will send a letter to Attorney General Brian Frosh asking him to determine if the state needs to conduct an investigation for possible suspension or disbarment. . . .
            (Embedded hyperlink omitted.)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2016 @ 7:39pm

        Connecticut [was Re: California Suspension]

        CT reviewing its relationship with Wells Fargo”, by Ana Radelat, CT Mirror, Sep 29, 2016
        Connecticut is reviewing its relationship with Wells Fargo after the bank admitted opening potentially millions of bogus accounts to collect fees from unwitting customers.

        The state is among the first to take action in response to the scandal. . . .
        I don't see this announced at the Connecticut State Treasurer's website, but Harriet Jones at WNPR has similar story today.

        Additionally, yesterday's CT Mirror story ends with the line:
        New York City, a giant in municipal bonding, is also reviewing its relationship with the bank.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 2:13pm

        Seattle [was Re: California Suspension]

        Not sure exactly where to place this… perhaps it should follow the Chicago subthread. Otoh, keeping Chicago close to Illinois makes some kind of sense. It's just a jumble at this point.

        Seattle cuts ties with Wells Fargo after fake account scandal”, KOMO News, Oct 7, 2016
        The City of Seattle says it refuses to work with Wells Fargo as a lender on a $100 million financing deal for Seattle City Light . . .

        City leaders penned a letter to the bank Friday afternoon . . .

        Read the City of Seattle's letter in full below.
        That's followed by a copy of a @komonews tweet, which simply contains an image of the letter's text without ‘to’ or ‘from’ info visible.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 4:24pm

          Re: Seattle [was Re: California Suspension]

          Read the City of Seattle's letter in full below.
          That does say “in full”.

          But this report from another Seattle TV station, KIRO, headlined “City of Seattle: ‘We cannot work with Wells Fargo' as a lender” (Oct 7, 2016) says:
          KIRO 7 News obtained the letter the leaders wrote. Read it below:
          And beneath that follows six paragraphs of text. By eyeball, the first four paragraphs appear identical to the text now seen in the KOMO News story. But then there are two additional paragraphs to the letter in the KIRO 7 News story

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 9:18pm

            Re: Re: Seattle [was Re: California Suspension]

            … six paragraphs of text.
            As formatted in the following pdf, it actually looks like five paragraphs.

            Oct 6, 2016 letter to Wells Fargo executives, Perry Pelos, Shelley Rintala, and Brennan Church, from Seattle Mayor Edward B. Murray, Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell and Seattle City Council Finance and Budget Committeee Chair Tim Burgess.

            Via “Seattle drops Wells Fargo from bond deal to protest bank fraud”, by Daniel Beekman, Seattle Times, Oct 7, 2016.

            Down here in the archives, there's really no hurry. I regret not waiting for this Seattle Times article before punching “submit” with the earlier KOMO News story. After I did post that one, though, I wanted to get a correction out based on the KIRO 7 News info relatively quickly. On the plus side, I did manage to filter out some of the other reports—ones that didn't provide a copy of the letter at all.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2016 @ 8:13am

              Exec position changes [was Re: Re: Re: Seattle][was Re: California Suspension]

              • Oct 6, 2016 letter to Wells Fargo executives, Perry Pelos, Shelley Rintala, and Brennan Church
              The first addressee of that Oct 6, 2016 letter was Perry Pelos, who was styled as “Executive Vice President” at Wells Fargo Bank.

              Yesterday, Wells Fargo announced a reshuffling of its top executives, including Perry Pelos.

              I'm getting that “reshuffling” characterization from the New York Times headline and story, “Wells Fargo Reshuffles Top Ranks, Rallying Around Its No. 2” (Oct 10, 2016). In that story, Stacy Cowley writes:
              As part of the reshuffling, which the bank said was not related to the issue of the illegal accounts, Wells Fargo created a new division . . .
              An American Banker story yesterday by Kate Berry, “Wells Fargo Shakes Up Management, Creates Digital Payments Division (Oct 10, 2016), quoted Wells Fargo President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Sloan directly:
              When asked if the management changes were related to the phony accounts scandal, Sloan said, "No."
              Despite that disavowal, I thought it was worth noting that when the Oct 6, 2016 letter from the Seattle mayor and councilmembers was addressed to Wells Fargo Executive Vice President Perry Pelos, he was “the head of Commercial Banking Services”. Now he's not.

              From the Wells Fargo press release (Oct 10, 2016):
              • Perry Pelos has been named  . . .
              • Pelos has spent the past 29 years with Wells Fargo, most recently serving as the head of Commercial Banking Services . . .
              Guess this is kind of a long post to support a short phrase in a sentence, along the lines of, ‘The Oct 6, 2016 letter was addressed to, among others, Perry Pelos, who at that time was Wells Fargo's head of Commercial Banking.’

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2016 @ 11:00am

                Re: Exec position changes [was Re: Re: Re: Seattle][was Re: California Suspension]

                Wells Fargo press release (Oct 10, 2016)
                Continuing along a tangent…   A Motley Fool piece by John Maxfield, headlined, “Wells Fargo Further Consolidates Control Under COO Tim Sloan” (Oct 11, 2016), highlights the first two paragraphs of the WSJ story about the Wells Fargo announcement—
                When The Wall Street Journal reported the news yesterday [Oct 10, 2016], here's how the paper's Emily Glazer interpreted the bank's announcement:
                Wells Fargo & Co. announced Monday that it is shuffling a number of top executives even as the bank continues to grapple with the fallout from its sales-tactics scandal.

                The moves allow President and Chief Operating Officer Timothy J. Sloan to cement the position of a number of his lieutenants, according to people familiar with the bank. Mr. Sloan is widely expected to take over for Chief Executive John Stumpf in the next two years, these people said.
                (Non-paywalled version of WSJ story at embedded hyperlink: “Wells Fargo Shuffles Some Top Banking Executives -- Update”, by Emily Glazer, Nasdaq.com headlines (Dow Jones Business News), Oct 11, 2016.)
                (Indirectly via an older version: “Wells Fargo Strips CEO John Stumpf of Direct Control Over Most Operations”, by John Maxfield, Nasdaq.com headlines (Motley Fool), Oct 11, 2016. The version at Motley Fool differs, and has an editor's note appended.)

                In what I've been linking to, I've mostly been filtering out the commentary and analysis that I've seen in the media regarding the present Wells Fargo situation. Partially, that's out of habit. The Techdirt commentariat usually provides enough opinion that the constant struggle is to keep that opinion well-informed and fact-grounded. But down here in the archives… Anyhow, especially after seeing the editor's note appended to the updated Motley Fool piece, perhaps I really should've just filtered this out, too.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 9:57pm

            Re: Re: Seattle [was Re: California Suspension]

            ““City of Seattle cancels business with Wells Fargo after ‘betrayal of public trust’ ”, Q13 Fox, Oct 7, 2016
            Here is Wells Fargo’s full statement:

            “Wells Fargo is disappointed that the City of Seattle has decided to cancel our investment in its municipal light and power revenue bonds facility . . . .
            This shows a four paragraph response by Wells Fargo. By eyeball, the first three paragraphs are identical to what I see in the KIRO 7 News story, and then an additional paragraph follows.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2016 @ 4:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Seattle [was Re: California Suspension]

              This shows a four paragraph response by Wells Fargo.
              As does the Wells Fargo press release via Business Wire, “Wells Fargo Media Statement Regarding City of Seattle Municipal Light and Power Revenue Bonds Facility” (Oct 7, 2016).

              Pretty much incidentally, looking at the timestamps, this press release appears to have gone out after the Q13 Fox report.

              If I was doing this series of posts over again… boiling them down into one nice, simple post, linking to what in my judgment are the best sources, in order to accurately and concisely memorialize one discrete event in this much larger saga… well, I could have done a lot better than the almost half-dozen posts I've wound up with here.

              That's not to say I'm unhappy with posting a link to the Q13 Fox report. Rather, not only does that story begin with a quick intro to the letter and response, it also has clean plaintext for the letter. But, I'd annotate it with the PDF from the Seattle Times, and also a link to the Wells Fargo press release.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2016 @ 6:24am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Seattle [was Re: California Suspension]

                … Q13 Fox report. Rather, not only does that story begin with a quick intro…
                Might as well make this a full half-dozen posts, and link two more of the major Seattle media outlets in order to more precisely situate this letter within its local context.

                Seattle blows off Wells Fargo on $100 million City Light bond financing, by Joel Connelly, Seattle PI, Oct 7, 2016
                Two influential players in city politics -- SEIU labor leader David Rolf and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer -- launched an on-line petition last week demanding that Seattle to sever its ties with Wells Fargo.
                Seattle cuts lending deal with Wells Fargo, but keeps company as official bank amidst scandal”, by Danielle Leigh, KING, Oct 7, 2016
                While Seattle has canceled one contract with the bank, this move in no way ends the city's relationship with Wells Fargo.

                Wells Fargo is still the city's official bank, helping the city manage nearly $4 billion in revenues and payments throughout the year.

                The points here are that local political pressure to take action came from outside the Seattle City Council, and that the letter represents a limited action by the city.
                 

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2016 @ 6:47am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Seattle [was Re: California Suspension]

                  “Seattle cuts lending deal with Wells Fargo, but keeps company as official bank amidst scandal”, by Danielle Leigh, KING, Oct 7, 2016
                  CORRECTED LINK:Seattle cuts lending deal with Wells Fargo, but keeps company as official bank amidst scandal”, by Danielle Leigh, KING, Oct 7, 2016

                  The parent post inadvertently linked twice to the Seattle PI story. Sorry. I really thought I had checked both links in that post on preview.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2016 @ 7:27am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Seattle [was Re: California Suspension]

                    The parent post inadvertently linked twice to the Seattle PI story.
                    If I was going to link twice on purpose to the Seattle PI, then I'd add a story from the end of last month to support the backstory—

                    Entrepreneur, labor leader want city to stop doing business with Wells Fargo”, by Joel Connelly, Seattle PI, Sep 30, 2016.
                    Seattle city government is known for its stress of symbolism.
                    Compare that line eight days ago with this from yesterday's story:
                    The city rolled out its outrage in the letter from Murray, Burgess and Harrell -- three figures at City Hall not usually given to grandstanding or pandering to radicals.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2016 @ 9:56am

        Bait? [was Re: California Suspension]

        Wells Fargo Lays Out Strategy to Move Past Scandal -- 3rd Update”, by Emily Glazer, Dow Jones Business News, Oct 11, 2016
        Wells Fargo & Co.'s top brass laid out the bank's strategy to move past its sales-tactics scandal on an hour-long call Monday with around 500 senior executives, according to a recording of the call reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. . . .

        Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry, responding to an executive's question on the call, said other than "some legal set asides" there isn't much different in the bank's third-quarter earnings due to some states suspending business with the bank. He added that those public announcements aren't "really amounting to much in terms of dollars yet."

        But the CFO said the bank likely wouldn't say this publicly: "We probably won't broadcast that because it might incentivize people to do more, to make it tougher on Wells Fargo, but the story line is worse than the economics at this point."
        (Paywalled version at “Wells Fargo Lays Out Strategy to Move Past Scandal, WSJ, Oct 11, 2016. As is typical, the WSJ version includes a ¶ 3 omitted from the wire-service version.)

        Unsurprisingly, this story's quotation of the Wells Fargo CFO, “We probably won't broadcast that because…”, is generating some attention elsewhere in the media.

        Fortune has a story by Stephen Gandel (Reuters), headlined, “Wells Fargo's CFO Told Bank Execs That Scandal Not a Problem for Bank's Bottom Line”, subheadlined, “But warns not to publicize as that could attract more bad PR” (Oct 11, 2016). This story ledes with a link to the WSJ story.

        A Business Insider story by Bob Bryan, is headlined “Wells Fargo doesn't want you to know that its scandal really hasn’t hurt the bank” (Oct 11, 2016). It doesn't get around to linking to the WSJ story until ¶¶ 3, 4, 5, then skips until links in ¶¶ 7 – 8.


        ( Occasionally, I'm not at all displeased that <a> tags in Techdirt comments get the ref="nofollow" attribute automagically. )

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2016 @ 10:25am

          Re: Bait? [was Re: California Suspension]

          ref="nofollow"
          s/ref=/rel=/

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2016 @ 2:05pm

            Re: Re: Bait? [was Re: California Suspension]

            A Business Insider story by Bob Bryan, is headlined “Wells Fargo doesn't want you to know that its scandal really hasn’t hurt the bank” (Oct 11, 2016).
            rel=nofollow
            Incidentally, I just checked the source of that Business Insider story, and I'm seeing:
            <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/wells-fargo-lays-out-strategy-to-move-past-scandal-1476191166?mod= wsj_nview_latest">
            Iow, the six (6) identical <a> tags in ¶¶ 3,4,5,7,8 and bottom anchor (“Check out the full report on The Wall Street Journal»”) are not decorated with the nofollow attribute.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2016 @ 2:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Bait? [was Re: California Suspension]

              Iow, the six (6) identical <a> tags in ¶¶ 3,4,5,7,8 and bottom anchor (…) are not decorated with the nofollow attribute.
              Curiously, though, Google news search for "wells fargo" [archived] right now returns, beneath —and not counting— the result for https://www.wellsfargo.com/ itself,
              first the Business Insider story, and the WSJ story only third. Iow, it's ranking the Business Insider story ahead of what that story's webpage links to with six <a> tags.

              Google does mark the WSJ story as “Highly Cited”.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2016 @ 11:30am

          Re: Bait? [was Re: California Suspension]

          Fortune has a story by Stephen Gandel (Reuters)…
          That should probably be marked as “Stephen Gandel and Reuters”.

          The Fortune story appears to share its first four paragraphs with the story by Sruthi Shankar and Nikhil Subba, at Reuters, “Wells Fargo CFO says accounts scandal won't hit profit much: WSJ” (Oct 11, 2016, “10:10am EDT”). The Fortune story, marked “11:04 AM EDT”, then differs beginning with the sixth paragraph.


          ( Btw, Huffington post also picked up that Reuters story, crediting it to Sruthi Shankar and Nikhil Subba, “Wells Fargo Doesn’t Want You To Know Its Scandal Isn’t Hurting Profits” (Oct 11, 2016, “10:58 am ET”), and subheadlined it, “This “might incentivize people to do more, to make it tougher on Wells Fargo.’ ”. )

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2016 @ 11:38am

            Re: Re: Bait? [was Re: California Suspension]

            first four … sixth
            Five usually happens to be the next number after four. Geez. I am just not doing very well with this one at all, am I.

            s/sixth/fifth/

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2016 @ 5:35pm

        Sacramento [was Re: California Suspension]

        Similarly to the Seattle subthread, I'm just going to place this item out at the first level of followup.

        Sacramento cutting ties with Wells Fargo after fraudulent account scandal”, by Anita Chabria, Sacramento Bee, Oct 11, 2016
        Sacramento’s interim city treasurer has been cutting ties with Wells Fargo . . .

        On Thursday, the City Council may make that break the official city policy, eventually divesting nearly $30 million in business from the troubled San Francisco-based financial institution. If city leaders follow through, Sacramento would become the first California city to ban the bank from city business . . .
        One way or another, this'll need a followup later..

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2016 @ 6:14pm

        Santa Cruz County [was Re: California Suspension]

        Buried down in the sixth paragraph of a story about a proposed LA measure, Bloomberg's Romy Varghese tells us what's going on today much farther up the coast towards San Francisco. Never mind the headline, “Los Angeles Seeks Changes at Banks After Wells Fargo Scandal” (Oct 11, 2016). This sentence is about Santa Cruz County—
        Santa Cruz County Supervisors on Tuesday voted to bar the bank from new business with the California county for a year, according to the clerk’s office.
        Four days ago… “Santa Cruz County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty: Suspend business with Wells Fargo”, by Jondi Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Oct 6, 2016.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2016 @ 11:45am

        Ohio [was Re: California Suspension]

        Kasich Opposes Wells Fargo's Participation in State Financial Work”, Ohio Gov John Kasich press release, Oct 14, 2016
        Ohio Governor John R. Kasich today announced that, for one year, he is barring Wells Fargo & Company from participating in future state debt offerings and financial services contracts initiated by state agencies under his authority . . .

        (H/T “Ohio to suspend doing business with Wells Fargo”, by Ken Sweet, AP, Oct 14, 2016.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 8:19pm

        Massachusetts [was Re: California Suspension]

        Mass. treasurer will remove Wells Fargo from list of approved debt underwriters”, by Adam Vaccaro, Boston Globe, Oct 17, 2016
        Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg said Wells Fargo will be banned from handling the state’s main bond issues for one year, after four members of the state’s Congressional delegation asked her to cut off business with the troubled banking giant. . . .
        Fwiw, I haven't yet seen any indication of this directly from a Massachusetts Treasurer's press release, or via @MassTreasury on Twitter.

        Some hours ago today, though, I was alerted to: “Lynch Leads Letter Calling for Massachusetts to End Business Dealings with Wells Fargo”, Rep Stephen Lynch press release, Oct 17, 2016.

        Oct 17, 2016 letter to Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg from Representatives Lynch (MA-8), McGovern (MA-2), Capuano (MA-7), and Clark (MA-5).


        ( A report from earlier today, which first alerted me to the letter from the Masschusetts U.S. representatives to the state's treasurer, has also now been updated: “Massachusetts should end any business arrangements with Wells Fargo, Congressmen James McGovern and Stephen Lynch say”, by Gintautas Dumcius, MassLive, Oct 17, 2016. That report (now marked as updated “at 6:01 PM”), has a note appended:
        This post was updated at 5:36 p.m. with comments from Treasurer Goldberg's office.
         Earlier, I had been holding off on posting about this. )

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2016 @ 1:17pm

      Arbitration

      A September 10 story in the Los Angeles Times by James Rufus Koren, which I cited up above, talked about the mandatory arbitration clauses in customer contracts with Wells Fargo. (“Wells Fargo settled over its bogus accounts, but it still faces a fight from customers and ex-employees”)
      As at many other banks, Wells Fargo customers sign a contract requiring them to bring any disputes with the bank to a private arbitrator rather than to court.

      Those arbitration clauses have stymied customers' attempts to sue the bank, even over accounts they never agreed to open.
      Yesterday, in their LA Times coverage of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf's appearance before the House Financial Services Committee, reporters James Rufus Koren and Jim Puzzanghera noted California (30th district) congressman Brad Sherman's questions about this issue. (“Wells Fargo CEO says he won't waive requirement that customers use arbitration instead of lawsuit”, Sep 29, 2016)
      Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Porter Ranch) pressed Wells Fargo chief John Stumpf on whether he would waive clauses for harmed customers that force them to have their disputes heard by arbitrators and prevent them from filing lawsuits.

      "If they want their day in court, are you going to screw them out of that?"

       . . .

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2016 @ 1:35pm

        Re: Arbitration

        "If they want their day in court, are you going to screw them out of that?"
        Switching now to the Washington Post's coverage, yesterday a story by Jonnelle Marte expanded on this exchange. (“Why Wells Fargo customers won’t be able to sue the bank over fake accounts”, Sep 29, 2016)
        In a terse exchange during Thursday’s hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman (D.-Calif.) pushed John Stumpf, the chief executive, on whether the bank would waive the clause for affected customers.

        Stumpf defended the arbitration process, calling it “fair” and saying that consumers would be directed to mediators.

        But Sherman asked the executive to be more direct about whether customers have the ability to challenge the company in court.

        “If they want to go to court are you going to let them go to court? Yes or no?” Sherman asked.

        “No, but …” Stumpf responded before being interrupted by Sherman, who said he understood that the answer was no.
        ( Incidentally, but somewhat curiously, today's Chicago Tribune carries an almost identical version of this story under the headline, “Wells Fargo customers won't be able to sue the bank over fake accounts” (Sep 30, 2016), but that story's byline instead credits the Washington Post's Renae Merle. )

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2016 @ 2:16pm

        Re: Arbitration

        Yesterday, a Consumer Reports story by Mandy Walker, “Why You Might Not Be Able to Sue Your Bank” (Sep 29, 2016), brought out one of the systemic problems with forced customer arbitration—
        [A]s noted in a letter six Democratic senators sent to Wells Fargo CEO John G. Stumpf (shown above), is that "arbitration proceedings are kept secret, so that other customers are deprived of the knowledge that their experiences might be part of a more widespread problem." The letter went on to say that this forced arbitration system helps hide fraudulent schemes such as the sham accounts at Wells Fargo from the justice system, from the news media, and from the public eye.
        (Embedded hyperlink copyed below.)

        Sep 23, 2016 letter to Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf from Senators Leahy, Brown, Durbin, Franken, Blumenthal and Warren.
        We have serious concerns that your forced arbitration policies thrust consumers into a system with little transparency or oversight.
        And just tying this a little more into Representative Sherman's question yesterday, the six senators go on in page 3 of that letter from a couple weeks ago, asking the Wells Fargo CEO:
        In light of your commitment to do everything possible to fix this issue and restore your customers' trust, will you end Wells Fargo's use of mandatory arbitration clauses in your customer agreements?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2016 @ 8:26pm

      September Summary

      Recall that the very first hyperlink in Mike's article up top points to Matt Egan's Sep 9, 2016 story at CNN Money. Since then, Egan and others at CNN Money have provided quite a bit of coverage of this ongoing saga.

      Today, Matt Egan and Pallavi Gogoi roundup CNN Money's reporting on “Wells Fargo's September from hell” (Oct 1, 2016)
      The news landed like a bombshell.

      On September 8, Americans learned that Wells Fargo had fired 5,300 employees . . .
      Yeah, that hyperlink in there points back to that same Sep 9, 2016 story.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2016 @ 4:31pm

      Clinton on Wells Fargo, CFPB, arbitration

      As this story sinks deeper and deeper into the Techdirt archives, I've been rather conscious that people may be looking at this material weeks, or months, or years from now.

      Thus, on the one hand, I've been posting links to specific items that I myself might want to find later on — to establish a fact, support a point — to recall particular details. In selecting material in pursuit of that goal, my filtering of the news coverage may yield a rather odd view. That's just… what you get.

      Yet, on the other hand, I do want to at least partially sketch out some of the major developments in this story as it unfolds. It's that latter consideration, mostly, that leads me to conclude that this next item does belong here in the archives, chronicling today's events in this story…



      Read Hillary Clinton’s Remarks From a Rally in Toledo, Ohio”, Time, Oct 3, 2016
      Hillary Clinton delivered a speech Monday at a campaign event in Toledo, Ohio. . . .

      Read her full comments . . .
      (Transcript intro credited to Daniel White.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2016 @ 1:16pm

      Clawback Rules

      I could thread this item into a number of places, but it seems best to give this a new top-level topic. In this extract, I'm highlighting the House members letter, as I already have a post today about the Senate members letter.

      Democrats call for criminal probe into senior Wells Fargo executives”, by Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch, Oct 5, 2016
      Senate Democrats on Wednesday asked for a criminal probe into senior Wells Fargo executives as their counterparts in the House asked federal banking regulators to strengthen rules on clawing back pay. . . .

      The House letter, signed by 11 Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee, is an appeal to banking regulators including the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The House members say there’s too much discretion for banks in determining when a bank can withhold, reduce or recoup senior executive bonus pay.
      October 5, 2016 letter to Federal Reserve Chair Yellen, OCC Comptroller Curry, FDIC Chair Gruenberg, NCUA Chairman Metsger, FHFA Director Watt and SEC Chair White; from Representatives Waters, Velázquez, Sherman, Meeks, Capuano, Hinojosa, Green, Moore, Ellison, Kildee and Foster.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2016 @ 10:56am

      Hurricanes

      Today, a little after noon on the East Coast, still mid-morning here on the West Coast, the Charlotte Observer's front page [archived] features an ominous-looking weather satellite graphic, with the headline underneath, “Hurricane warnings extended up SC coast as Matthew strengthens to Category 4”.

      Where the big weather satellite image features now — yesterday evening the Charlotte Observer's front page [archived] featured the now-familiar face of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf.

      The headline underneath that featured photo was, “For Wells Fargo, complaints in a new area: its brokerage business”. It links to an Oct 5, 2016 story by Deon Roberts, which is 38 paragraphs long. In the 31st paragraph of that story, underneath a sub-head—
      $5 million loss

      Lacy Harber, a prominent 80-year-old Texas businessman, plans to bring national attention to his complaints about Wells Fargo Advisors on Thursday with full-page ads in the Observer, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Dallas Morning News.
      When I snapshotted the Charlotte Observer's front page today for that first link in this comment —about an hour ago now— the Wells Fargo story was still in a very prominent position: the next row of stories down from the big picture and its accompanying headline. It was in the place where yesterday evening, the story was, “Haley confirms Lowcountry evacuation due to Hurricane Matthew”.

      Checking the Charlotte Observer's front page again, just now, the Wells Fargo “bank watch” story has moved down into the second row, immediately underneath another, more recent “banking” story —completely different— about another bank.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2016 @ 2:30pm

        Re: Hurricanes

        … full-page ads in the Observer, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Dallas Morning News.
        Seen on Twitter, a few minutes ago, picture said to be of a full-page San Francisco Chronicle advertisement.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2016 @ 3:52pm

          Re: Re: Hurricanes

          … full-page San Francisco Chronicle advertisement.
          Lacy Harber's Wells Fargo advertisement” on Scribd, marked “uploaded by The Dallas Morning News”.
          Description: This is the ad that North Texas investor Lacy Harber placed in four major newspapers, calling on congressional finance and banking committees to expand the inquiry of Wells Fargo.
          Via “North Texas investor takes on Wells Fargo over $34.8 million trade that went bad”, by Cheryl Hall, Dallas News (“powered by The Dallas Morning News”), Oct 5, 2016. Extracting from ¶¶ 2 – 3:
           . . . a full-page ad running in four newspapers Thursday, including The Dallas Morning News. (Read the ad at the end of this story).

           . . . . It is also running in The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and The Charlotte Observer at a total cost of more $250,000, his attorney says.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2016 @ 5:29pm

            Re: Re: Re: Hurricanes

            “North Texas investor takes on Wells Fargo over $34.8 million trade that went bad”, by Cheryl Hall, Dallas News (…), Oct 5, 2016.
            From ¶ 5 – 6 of that same story yesterday:
            A spokesman for Wells Fargo Advisors in St. Louis declined to comment specially on Harber's ad but issued the following statement:

            “"We are working to help our clients understand . . .”
            The two paragraph long Wells Fargo statement continues on to ¶ 7 of the Dallas News story.

            Today, a New York Times “DealB%k” story by Michael Corkery, “After Congressional Grilling, Wells Fargo Is Berated in Newspaper Ads” (Oct 6, 2016), following discussion of the ad in the NYT and other papers in ¶¶ 3 – 5, then begins ¶¶ 11 – 12 with:
            In a statement, a spokesman for Wells Fargo Advisors said: “Mr. Harber is a highly sophisticated, experienced investor . . . ”

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 10:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Hurricanes

            “Lacy Harber's Wells Fargo advertisement” on Scribd, marked “uploaded by The Dallas Morning News”.
            This photo, which was embedded in a tweet, shows that the full-page Dallas Morning News advertisement ran Oct 6, 2016 on page “ 7D ”.

            (Via Fortune / Ian Mount.)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 11:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Hurricanes

            … a total cost of more $250,000, his attorney says.
            A report yesterday at the website of Sherman, Texas TV station KXII quotes Lacy Harber as saying his total ad buy is $475,000. It's unclear whether that differing number includes additional ad purchases in an expanded campaign.

            Local investor runs national ads against Wells Fargo after $34.8 million trade went wrong”, by Abbie Maynard, KXII, Oct 6, 2016
            The ad ran in The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times Thursday, but he has plans to continue running it nationwide.

             . . . Harber said. “Those ads I paid for, they cost me roughly $475,000 . . . ”
            Somewhat curiously, this report does not mention the San Francisco Chronicle or Charlotte Observer ads on Thursday.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2016 @ 11:59am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Hurricanes

              . . . Harber said. “Those ads I paid for, they cost me roughly $475,000 . . . ”
              Lacy Harber takes on Wells Fargo”, by Michael Hutchins, Herald Democrat, Oct 6 / updated Oct 7, 2016
              The advertisements cost Harber $575,000 in total, he said in a phone interview Thursday.
              Misheard? mistyped? changing story?—or even more spending? Last Thursday would have been Oct 6, the same date as the KXII report.

              Anyhow, I don't think I'll continue to relay any more reports of other numbers heard verbally. The essential point, I guess, is that the original $250,000 amount heard from his attorney in the Oct 5 Dallas Morning News story should probably not be relied on. And I think that point's now made.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2016 @ 10:37pm

        Re: Hurricanes

        … Thursday with full-page ads…
        Longtime Target Shareholder Calls For Wells Fargo CEO’s Removal From Board”, by Sam Schaust, Twin Cities Business, Oct 6, 2016
        . . . Epstein took out a quarter page ad in the Thursday edition of the [Minneapolis] Star Tribune. The ad, which he said cost $4,500, reads:

        [JPEG image]
        When I initially saw this story, I decided it wasn't worth comment. And if I was placing it in the “Calls for Stumpf resignation” subthread—there, so far, I've filtered out everything except what senators and representatives have said, despite seeing some amount of other people's opinions. Yet, after seeing a story about this a third time today, most recently in the The Mercury News, well, this story about a quarter page ad in the major Twin Cities paper provides some context for the stories about the four full page ads in other major cities' papers elsewhere around the nation today.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2016 @ 11:29pm

          Re: Re: Hurricanes

          … some context for the stories about the four full page ads in other major cities' papers elsewhere around the nation today.
          Almost a full month ago… “Wells Fargo Offers Regrets, but Doesn’t Admit Misconduct” by Michael Corkery, Sep 9, 2016
          Wells Fargo was flowing with regrets on Friday [Sep 9, 2016], taking out ads in nearly a dozen newspapers saying the bank took “full responsibility” for creating sham bank accounts without its customers’ permission.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2016 @ 5:24pm

        Re: Hurricanes

        … which is 38 paragraphs long.
        Happening to visit that story again on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I notice that story's now been updated, apparently by appending two additional paragraphs to the version seen on Oct 6.   (I'm saying “apparently” because it was a very-quick scan, hardly even an eyeball compare, let alone letting computers do what computers are good at.)   The version I'm seeing now seems to be still marked, “October 5, 2016 4:08 PM”.

        Anyhow, it's now a 40 paragraph long article. It currently ends with statement by Wells Fargo in response to Lacy Harber's ad, somewhat similar to the response seen in the NYT story.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 1:07pm

      Who or what is NYCC?

      This perhaps really should be threaded under the $475,000 post in the “Hurricanes” thread, or at least contrasted with that post…

      My eye was caught by a somewhat contextless item which turned up yesterday at the Chicago Tribune: “Wells Fargo protest” (Oct 6, 2016)
      STANDALONE PHOTO: Demonstrators protest at the Wells Fargo & Co. office in New York on Oct. 6.
      The photo shows not more than a dozen people holding up cardboard signs, while standing outside a grey building. Over the heads, and signs of the people, up on the grey wall of the building, there's a bronze nameplate, “Wells Fargo” in raised letters. The demonstrators' white cardboard signs have blue borders, and orange lettering, “NYCC”.

      Who or what is NYCC?

      Google informs me —top result for “NYCC”— that the New York Comic Con is being held October 6-9, 2016.

      But, a photo from a tweet by The Japan Times, shows someone holding up a similar cardboard sign, blue borders, white background, and orange letters “NYCC”. The single individual in that photo is wearing an orange T-shirt, with readable white and blue lettering.

      New York Communities for Change (NYCC)”.
       

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 3:33pm

        Re: Who or what is NYCC?

        But, a photo from a tweet by The Japan Times…
        Unfortunately, that actually was a photo from a tweet by ‏@nipponupdate about the article in the Japan Times. Fwiw, here's a similar tweet by @japantimes. Sorry — I regret the error.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2016 @ 12:31pm

      PHH v CFPB

      I'm just going to drop this in now almost as just a bare event marker: PHH Corp, et al v CFPB (D.C.Cir. Oct 11, 2016).

      This appellate court decision doesn't seem to have any immediate impact on the Wells Fargo scandal. As Alexis Wheeler at Jurist's Paper Chase explains in todays article, “Federal appeals court rules structure of consumer protection agency unconstitutional” (Oct 12, 2016)——
      The decision against CFPB will not void any of its prior actions.
      Yet, at the same time, this court decision against the agency which last month assessed a $100 million penalty against Wells Fargo is relevant to the politics surrounding the scandal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2016 @ 4:12pm

      Stumpf out

      Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf is retiring immediately, will not receive severance”, by James Rufus Koren, Los Angeles Times, Oct 12, 2016

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2016 @ 7:41pm

      Tim Sloan

      Quite obviously, this subject logically follows the Wells Fargo press release today, but I'm starting the thread out at top level. (There may be more to add to that other thread, particularly as I've heard reports that Sen Warren was ‘twittering up a storm’.)

      CNBC Exclusive: CNBC Transcript: New Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan Speaks with CNBC's Wilfred Frost on "Fast Money" Tonight”, CNBC, Oct 12, 2016.
      Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Tim Sloan, new CEO of Wells Fargo, on CNBC's "Fast Money"
      The urls for videos in the introduction to that transcript appear to be more-or-less messed up. It looks to me like the correct links should be—

        • “Sloan: Stumpf felt retirement was right for the company” (Interview part 1, 3:47 video)
        • “Sloan: Disappointed hearings turned into speeches” (Interview part 2, 5:45 video)
      [Both clips:]   CNBC's Wilfred Frost speaks to Wells Fargo's new CEO Tim Sloan about former CEO John Stumpf's exit out the company.
      Additionally, the first of those two videos seems to omit the the first speaker in the transcript, Melissa Lee. Instead, that first video begins, after the ad, with Wilfred Frost saying, “We are joined by Tim Sloan, the new CEO. . . .”

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 6:56pm

        Re: Tim Sloan

        The following reaction to Tim Sloan's appointment as new Wells Fargo CEO has been quoted in some of the recent media coverage.

        Congresswoman Waters Applauds Retirement of Wells Fargo Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John G. Stumpf”, U.S. House Committee on Financial Services Democrats press release, Oct 12, 2016
        Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, released the following statement today [Oct 12, 2016] . . .
         . . . I remain concerned that incoming CEO Tim Sloan is also culpable in the recent scandal, serving in a central role in the chain of command that ought to have stopped this misconduct from happening. Indeed, as recently as June of this year, Mr. Sloan was telling the news media that Wells Fargo’s aggressive cross-selling strategies were fundamentally sound and didn’t need to change. . . .
        (Bolded in source.)

        For example, a sentence from this statement by Rep Waters is quoted today in the New York Times (“Shake-Up at Wells Fargo Fails to Dispel Skepticism From Regulators”, by Michael Corkery and Stacy Cowley, Oct 13, 2016).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 8:11pm

        Re: Tim Sloan

        Picking the Brain of Wells Fargo's (Likely) Next CEO”, by Kristin Broughton and Robert Barba, American Banker, Jun 16, 2016
        Editor's note: This story originally ran in June when Tim Sloan was still the "likely" next CEO of Wells Fargo. The bank announced Wednesday [Oct 12, 2016] that John Stumpf had stepped down effectively immediately, giving the job to Sloan.

         . . . .

        Sloan discussed CEO transition, as well as a number of other topics, during an interview at Wells Fargo's offices in New York on June 9. Here is an edited transcript. . . .

        On the topic of cross-selling — Wells has come under scrutiny for its strong sales culture. Is there any sense that the bank has pushed that strategy to the limit?

        [TIM SLOAN:]   No. Because . . .

         . . . But the fundamental strategy that we have is not going to change.
        (Via “New Wells Fargo CEO Just Months Ago Denied the Bank Had a Sales Problem”, by Stephen Gandel, Fortune, Oct 13, 2016.)

        (Mostly incidentally, Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing picked this up via Chris Morran at Consumerist, who links back to Fortune. IIRC, I saw Fortune before I saw BoingBoing today.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2016 @ 8:41am

        Re: Tim Sloan

        This morning, Friday, Oct 14, 2016, two days after Wells Fargo's simultaneous announcement of former CEO John Stumpf's departure and new CEO Tim Sloan's accession, the saga returns to the front page of Google News. It's in the third story down position of “Top Stories”, and also at the top of the Google News business page, with the New York Times headline, “Wells Fargo’s New Boss Is Same as the Old Boss to Congress”. That headline links to an article from Oct 13. A grey-text note at the bottom of the article—
        A version of this article appears in print on October 14, 2016, on page B1 of the New York edition with the headline: Shake-Up at Wells Fargo Fails to Dispel Skepticism From Lawmakers.
        Checking again during preview, the headline is now in the sixth position down, at the bottom of “Top Stories”, on Google News front page.


        ( Incidentally, I have two posts waiting in the automod queue here at Techdirt right now. If they weren't waiting in the queue, then I'd thread this under one of those. )

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2016 @ 12:11pm

          [was Re: Re: T□□ S□□□□ {redacted}]

          ( … the automod queue here at Techdirt… )
          ( Changing subject line 'cause every previous post with the former subject line wound up in the automod queue. )

          A version of this article appears in print on October 14, 2016, on page B1 of the New York edition with the headline…
          Following up on this a little bit, today the Seattle Times carries a version of Michael Corkery and Stacy Cowley's New York Times article with the headline, “Shake-up at Wells Fargo fails to dispel skepticism” (Oct 15, 2016). Today's Seattle Times version drops the last eight paragraphs that I see in the most recent online NYT version, and has some other minor differences. But, like all other versions I've seen, that version's ¶ 4 quotes from California Representative Maxine Waters' statement.

          I had mentioned in my post linking to Rep Waters' press release, that I had seen her statement —well, I implied this— in a number of places in “recent media coverage.” The front page Google News NYT article was an example of that “recent media coverage.”

          Another example of media quoting from Rep Waters' statement is Peter Schroeder's Oct 12, 2016 article in The Hill, “Wells Fargo CEO to retire immediately after accounts scandal”.
          "Indeed, as recently as June of this year, Mr. Sloan was telling the news media that Wells Fargo’s aggressive cross-selling strategies were fundamentally sound and didn’t need to change," Waters said in a statement.
          I recall that article, because that was what prompted to look for Rep Waters' press release. But, without searching for other examples now, I also recall seeing her statements from that press release quoted elsewhere.

          In contrast, the Washington Post's Jonnelle Marte, in her Oct 13, 2016 article, “What we know about Tim Sloan, the new CEO of Wells Fargo”, does not quote the press release from the ranking member of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, California's (43rd district) representative, Ms Waters. Instead, this WaPo article quotes another minority-party member of the committee, New York's (5th district) Representative Gregory Meeks.
          “The selection of Tim Sloan as the new CEO, who as a 25 year veteran at the bank occupied senior leadership positions, raises questions,” said Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.). “These announcement made today do not nearly go far enough given the many urgent reforms needed.”
          I looked for Rep Meeks' full statement, and it sure looks to me like the WaPo is quoting from Rep Meeks' Facebook page (Oct 12, 2016, “at 4:28pm”).
          “In addition, the selection of Tim Sloan as the new CEO, who as a 25 year veteran at the bank occupied senior leadership positions, raises questions. While I do welcome the splitting of the roles of CEO and chairman, these announcement made today do not nearly go far enough given the many urgent reforms needed.”
          So, Rep Waters' statement was quoted not just in the NYT article that had been front page Google News yesterday, and today is reprinted in the Seattle Times. Her statement was also spread widely enough elsewhere in the media that I noted it. — Last Thursday's WaPo article is the only place I recall seeing Rep Meeks' statement quoted.

          Finally, in further contrast, the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives' Small Business Committee, Ohio's (1st district) congressman, Steve Chabot, had some commentary Oct 13, 2016, at CNBC: “Wells Fargo CEO's resignation is not enough”. While the CNBC website may or may not be a more prominent platform than Facebook, I haven't seen Rep Chabot's comments quoted anywhere else in the media.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2016 @ 10:13am

      Ad and letter campaign

      Wells Fargo must do more than fire its CEO to mend its image, critics say”, by James Rufus Koren and James Peltz, Los Angeles Times, Oct 13, 2016
      A red stagecoach . . .

      The bank has also started an online ad campaign and, on Thursday, ran its stagecoach ads in newspapers in 26 big cities, saying the bank is, “moving forward to make things right.”

      The ads, like an email sent to customers Wednesday . . .
      • Archived Oct, 13, 2016 advertisment from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website. When I just checked the live link this morning, on preview, I noticed the webpage had changed. Now under “details”, it says:
      This item is set to be published on Oct 16, 2016.
      Note that during research yesterday, I saw indications that this ad had run in the Washington Post Sunday on Oct 9, 2016. Unfortunately, I'm don't know how to create a url for the source of that information.

      This morning, for the first time, I saw an online ad [archived] from this Wells Fargo campaign. It happened to be alongside a MarketWatch opinion by Tim Mullaney. That was at least partially coincidental. The ads in the right column of that MarketWatch webpage change on reload.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2016 @ 12:29pm

        Re: Ad and letter campaign

        Wells Fargo Ramps Up Marketing In Push to Regain Trust”, by Adrianne Pasquarelli, Advertising Age, Oct 14, 2016
        The recently beleaguered bank said on an earnings call Friday . . .

        "We have begun to reintroduce marketing and we'll be gradually increasing our marketing efforts throughout the coming months," said Tim Sloan, chief executive and president, on the call.
        In an earlier comment, I cited a transcript of that Friday, Oct 14, 2016 Wells Fargo earnings release conference call.
        [Timothy Sloan: . . . .] Customer visits with bankers in our branches, a subset of overall customer traffic, were down 10% in September compared with a year ago. The lower level of interactions in September was driven by lower internal referrals, decreased product offerings and reduced marketing.

        We have begun to reintroduce marketing and will be gradually increasing our marketing efforts throughout the coming months. . . .


        Going back to the Advertising Age article again, one paragraph in particular—well, just read it:
        According to crisis experts, Mr. Stumpf's departure was the bold and expected move—a symbolic sacrifice, in essence—that was necessary for the Wells Fargo brand to move forward and try to regain consumer confidence.
        I'm recalling Rep Denny Heck's comment at the House Financial Services Committee hearing on Sep 29th. Addressing the witness, Rep Heck said, “I personally don’t see how you survive.”

        And, somewhat naturally, that leads me to also recall the remarks to the witness by the congressman from Massachusetts (8th district), Rep Mike Capuano.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2016 @ 12:40pm

          Re: Re: Ad and letter campaign

          Massachusetts (8th district)
          CORRECTION: Mike Capuano represents the 7th district of Massachusetts in the U.S. House.

          Wikipedia (omitting embedded link): “He represented the state's 8th district until it was redrawn in 2013 into the 7th district.”

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2016 @ 2:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Ad and letter campaign

            Massachusetts (8th district)
            CORRECTION: Mike Capuano represents the 7th district
            Speaking, though, of Massachusetts' 8th district, Friday's article from Matt Egan, at CNN Money, “Wells Fargo's new account openings plunge” (Oct 14, 2016), linked back to some other memories from that House committee hearing last month.
            Scrutiny on the bank has intensified with two Congressional hearings on September 20 and 29, where lawmakers compared Wells Fargo to a "criminal enterprise."
            Here at Techdirt, I think most of us are familiar with Ken White's blog. Now, as the correction above absolutely shows, I myself do make mistakes from time-to-time…

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Observant Person, 18 Oct 2016 @ 4:22am

      I live in an affluent Southern California community not far from Los Angeles. Los Angeles is where most of this stuff went down. A few years ago in my bank branch the predominantly white Wells Fargo bank staff was sacked and replaced with nearly 100% Hispanic and Asian tellers and bank officers (with the obligatory token white guy). This coincided with the shenanigans reported in the news. You can call me all kinds of nasty names for pointing this out but I can't help believing there was a definite correlation between "culture change" and "corruption". I am actively looking for a new bank to do business with.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2016 @ 3:06pm

      Techdirt Comment Format Changes

      From beneath the comment box here today: "• NEW: Basic formatting of comments (e.g., bold, italic, blockquote) can now be done using markdown. Direct HTML formatting is no longer supported."

      Along with that change, all the blockquoted text in my previous comments has today changed to appear italicized. Formerly, most of that text (except where I had explicity used italic tags) had appeared upright.

      Archived copy of this Techdirt article and comment thread, from three days ago: http://archive.is/xeu2K

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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