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Waters to Wells Fargo: ‘Changing your chairman is not enough’

OW Staff Writer | 8/17/2017, midnight

Following the announcement that Elizabeth Duke will replace Stephen Sanger as Chair of the Board of Directors of Wells Fargo, Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, made the following statement:

“This superficial change in leadership at Wells Fargo isn’t enough to restore the trust and confidence of the American public. While Duke is replacing Sanger as chairman, She was a member of the Wells Fargo board during numerous scandals and failed to rein in the bank’s rampant consumer abuses. It is time that Congress recognize Wells Fargo for what it is—a recidivist institution that has committed millions of crimes and shows no remorse.

“After stealing the identities of millions of its consumers to open fraudulent accounts, Wells Fargo said it would make amends, but then immediately tried to stop the very same harmed consumers from receiving justice in court. In just the past year, Wells Fargo enrolled consumers in life insurance policies without their consent, fraudulently modified mortgages to collect government subsidies, and delayed mortgage closing dates to charge customers additional fees. And last month, we learned that the mega-bank forced nearly a million Americans to purchase auto insurance they didn’t need, and even repossessed some of their cars for not paying the insurance they didn’t need.

“The American public simply cannot afford to be continually ripped off by bad actors like Wells Fargo that view even a $100 million fine—the largest ever levied by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—as a business expense. When Congress returns in September, I will introduce legislation that, if passed, will break up banks like Wells Fargo that routinely break the law and harm consumers. I will be working hard to get the support of my fellow members of Congress to ensure that no bank will ever again be able to steal from millions of Americans and continue to exist.”

Earlier this month, Waters and other committee members wrote to Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling requesting a public hearing to review the ongoing violations of consumer rights by Wells Fargo. In July, Waters released a Democratic staff report documenting the successes of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, including the $100 million fine they charged to Wells Fargo for secretly opening fraudulent accounts. Additionally, Waters sent a letter to Timothy J. Sloan, Chief Executive Officer of Wells Fargo, regarding the refusal of Wells Fargo executives to be interviewed by Democratic Committee staff regarding the bank’s fraudulent account scandal. To date, Wells Fargo executives have not submitted to interviews with Democratic staff.