By Mark Calvey – Senior Reporter, San Francisco Business Times
Jan 23, 2020 (bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco)
Wells Fargo former Chairman and CEO John Stumpf has agreed to pay a fine of $17.5 million and accept a lifetime ban from the banking industry in a settlement the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Thursday.
Two other former C-suite executives of the San Francisco bank also settled and were fined. Hope Hardison, Wells Fargo’s (NYSE: WFC) former chief administrative officer and director of corporate human resources, agreed to pay a fine of $2.25 million and a personal cease and desist order that requires her to refrain from certain conduct in the future. The bank’s former Chief Risk Officer Michael Loughlin will pay a fine of $1.25 million and a personal cease and desist order.
Five other former senior executives cited by the OCC have not yet settled and can request a hearing to challenge regulators’ allegations.
The OCC is pursuing action against Carrie Tolstedt, Wells Fargo’s former head of community banking, which is what the bank calls its retail banking operation. The regulator is seeking a $25 million civil fine and a ban from the banking industry.
“Throughout her career, Ms. Tolstedt acted with the utmost integrity and concern for doing the right thing. A full and fair examination of the facts will vindicate Carrie,” her attorney Enu Mainigi of Williams & Connolly LLP said in a statement.
Other former senior executives that have not settled with the OCC, and the relief the agency is seeking, are Claudia Russ Anderson, former community bank group risk officer, with the regulator seeking a $5 million fine and a ban from the banking industry; former General Counsel James Strother, facing a $5 million fine and a personal cease and desist order; former Chief Auditor David Julian, who faces a $2 million fine and personal cease and desist order; and former Executive Audit Director Paul McLinko, who faces a $500,000 fine and personal cease and desist order.
It comes as fallout continues from 2016 revelations that the bank had opened large numbers of accounts without customer authorization. The scandal led to Stumpf’s ouster in October 2016.
“The actions announced by the OCC today reinforce the agency’s expectations that management and employees of national banks and federal savings associations provide fair access to financial services, treat customers fairly and comply with applicable laws and regulations,” Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said in a statement.
Following the OCC’s actions against the bank’s former executives, Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf told employees Thursday, “The OCC’s actions are consistent with my belief that we should hold ourselves and individuals accountable. They are also consistent with our belief that significant parts of the operating model of our community bank were flawed.
“At the time of the sales practices issues, the company did not have in place the appropriate people, structure, processes, controls or culture to prevent the inappropriate conduct. This was inexcusable,” Scharf said.
The OCC alleges that the former executives failed to perform their duties and responsibilities, contributing to the bank’s sales-practices misconduct dating from 2002 to October 2016.