Wells Fargo CEO Defends Bank on Capitol Hill -- 2nd Update
By Emily Glazer and Andrew Ackerman
Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Executive Timothy Sloan defended the bank's handling of its sales scandal and more recent consumer problems as the executive faced some tough questions and one call for his departure.
Mr. Sloan ticked off a variety of changes Wells Fargo has made to its business over the last year, including those affecting management and customer practices, testifying in front of the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.
But it wasn't enough to satisfy some of the bank's most vociferous critics. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D, Mass.), told Mr. Sloan he "should be fired," calling him "incompetent" and "complicit" during the sales practices scandal for not investigating the problems sooner.
"Wells Fargo needs to start over; that won't happen until the bank rids itself of people like you," she said.
Mr. Sloan apologized for the bank's conduct while defending his role as CEO, pointing to the changes that he's made leading the company over the past year. Though he's a 30-year veteran of the bank, he hasn't worked in the retail and consumer-lending units facing problems.
In a later exchange between the senator and Mr. Sloan, the bank executive said he "couldn't disagree more with almost everything Sen. Warren said," adding that she took statements out of context.
Republican senators questioned Mr. Sloan over more details around the scope of the sales practices problems, largely rehashing what happened. Some senators across the aisle acknowledged Mr. Sloan's visits to their offices in recent days before the hearing, a change of tone from the bank's hearings last year.
Wells Fargo is no stranger to congressional hearings, having endured two last year during its sales practices scandal. But it was Mr. Sloan's first time in front of the committee, housed Tuesday in a packed room of about 75 people in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.