CEO of troubled Wells Fargo says bank is stronger

Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan testified before the House Financial Services Committee on March 12

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused Wells Fargo Tuesday of being "involved" in family separations at the border because of the bank's prior financing of groups that run private prisons.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demanded to know why Wells Fargo was "involved in the caging of children" at a House hearing with the bank's CEO on Tuesday.

A rally at noon at Wells Fargo's headquarters in San Francisco next Monday will be the grande finale of a multi-day demonstration. "For a period of time, we were involved in financing one of the firms". A nervous Wall Street has been keen to see how the panel will treat the industry.

Ocasio-Cortez appeared to be referencing the fact that Wells Fargo has been in the business of financing private prison companies.

During the first hour of the hearing on Tuesday, Democrats and Republicans alike took a tough line on Sloan, quizzing him on the bank's remediation efforts, personnel changes, risk management controls, culture and whether it should be broken up.

"Should Wells Fargo be held responsible for the damages incurred by Climate Change due to the financing of fossil fuels and these projects?" At one point he claimed that "no institution in this country has done more for diverse communities than Wells Fargo" ― quite a claim for a bank that has been separately sued by the cities of Chicago, Baltimore, Miami and Philadelphia for targeting black and brown borrowers with predatory loans.

The committee's ranking Republican Patrick McHenry made it clear that his party would not go soft on the country's fourth-largest USA bank as they sought evidence it had remedied customer abuses.

"You will hear bipartisan criticism of the actions you have taken and the failures that you have overseen under your watch", he said.

The hearing comes as Wells Fargo, which has a large presence in Charlotte, remains under intense scrutiny from federal authorities and lawmakers in the wake of the 2016 scandal and newer instances of customer harm.

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The CEO has faced calls to step down from investors and politicians, including U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential contender.

Wells Fargo's scandals have been wide-ranging and costly.

According to the Financial Times, committee members pressed back on Sloan, raising questions such as why regulators had yet to release the bank from its consent orders and why the bank has not followed peers and stopped extending credit to gunmakers.

The CEO seemed to struggle to persuade some skeptical lawmakers that the bank's culture had changed amid repeated interruptions and aggressive, sometimes hectoring questioning from representatives including Brad Sherman, a Democrat.

FBN's Deirdre Bolton on how lawmakers blasted Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan during his testimony on Capitol Hill.

Such abuses caused the Federal Reserve to impose an unprecedented cap on Wells Fargo's growth previous year, a restriction that remains in effect. "Since 2016 the bank has entered into settlements with every single one of its federal regulators", McHenry said.

Wells Fargo has paid billions in fines to settle allegations, including those that it made millions of phony accounts across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and sold customers unnecessary auto insurance.

"We continue to be disappointed with Wells Fargo Bank N.A.'s performance. and its inability to execute effective corporate governance and a successful risk management program", said OCC spokesman Bryan Hubbard.

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