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Banking Committee Democrats Press Wells Fargo for Answers on Phony Accounts Scandal

Sen. Warner and colleagues request information on company’s ongoing investigation and responses to questions Wells Fargo’s management continues to dodge

Dec 22 2016

WASHINGTON – Democrats on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee including Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today called on Wells Fargo’s board of directors to respond to questions that the bank’s management has failed to answer following a scandal over its fraudulent sales practices.

In response to questions from Sen. Warner, Wells Fargo previously indicated that as many as 41,000 fraudulent accounts could have been opened in Virginia without customers’ knowledge.

In a letter, the Senators asked Wells Fargo’s board for details about its ongoing investigation of the fraud, the timeline of when the board learned about the bank’s illegal practices, actions the board took to address the problem, and reasons why it didn’t investigate the misconduct sooner. The Senators also asked for responses to questions that Wells Fargo’s management has continued to dodge but the board is in a position to answer.

“[C]ontinued failure to answer questions – especially basic questions – about the causes and consequences of the fraud that Wells Fargo permitted for many years does nothing to restore the trust of Wells Fargo’s customers and shareholders, many of whom are our constituents,” the Senators wrote. “In our view, waiting until spring 2017 to provide more documents and information to our questions is not diligence.”  

The Senators asked Wells Fargo's board to respond by Jan. 6, 2017. The letter was jointly submitted by Sens. Warner, Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN).

In September, the Banking Committee Democrats asked Wells Fargo to answer dozens of questions for the record to clarify and supplement the Sept. 20 testimony of the bank’s former chief executive, John Stumpf, before the Banking Committee. Wells Fargo's response on Nov. 15 either ignored or provided insufficient responses to a host of the Senators’ questions. In several instances, Wells Fargo declined to provide direct answers, citing the ongoing investigation that its board launched on Sept. 27.

Earlier this month, Sen. Warner introduced legislation, the Justice for Victims of Fraud Act, that would allow customers victimized by Wells Fargo the opportunity to take the banking giant to court.

The full text of the Senators’ letter to Wells Fargo’s board follows. 

2016 12 22 - Letter to Wells Board by MarkWarner on Scribd