MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The chief executive of Wells Fargo was once again taking heat from Congress Thursday.
“Let’s call it what it really is: Some of the most egregious fraud since the foreclosure crisis,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D) of California said.
It’s the second time in two weeks John Stumpf has had to appear before lawmakers. He’s being questioned about a five-year scheme in which Wells Fargo employees created fake accounts in order to meet aggressive sales goals.
“I am fully accountable for all unethical sales practices,” Stumpf said before Congress.
Though he’s apologized, Stumpf is still undergoing intense questioning.
“Fraud is fraud. Theft is theft. What happened at Wells Fargo for many years can’t be described any other way,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R) Texas said.
The bank fired more than 5,000 employees for setting up accounts customers didn’t request. In many cases, they were charged fees for accounts they didn’t know they had. Other reports show money was moved from real accounts to fake ones.
Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison was among those badgering Stumpf about the aggressive sales goals bank employees were required to meet.
“Were you aware that each banker was expected to make 100 prospecting calls a day? Are you aware of that?” Ellison asked Stumpf in the hearing.
“That’s the first I’ve ever heard of that,” Stumpf responded.
Ellison questioned Stumpf for several minutes, often calling him out when he couldn’t come up with an answer.
“You are the CEO and you don’t know if there were prospecting lists that each worker was asked to make cold calls on?” Ellison asked.
“I don’t know that level of detail Congressman,” Stumpf replied.
Experts said that if you have concerns, you should contact Wells Fargo and ask to review all accounts in your name dating back 5 years, and check your credit score.
Wells Fargo says they’ve since changed their practices, with plans to end their sales quota system at the end of the year. They’ll also be informing customers when an account is opened in their name.