Tester seeks answers from Wells Fargo CEO over latest scandal

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, questions former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf last year regarding the bank’s fraudulent actions. New allegations have surfaced and Tester and other committee members are looking to question the bank’s new CEO Timothy Sloan.

Wells Fargo, which is still settling lawsuits related to its fake accounts scandal from last year, was hit by another lawsuit this week alleging that it may have charged auto loan customers for unnecessary insurance.

Sen. Jon Tester called on bank CEO Timothy Sloan to testify before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to answer questions related to the new reports, which suggest the bank has continued its fraudulent and predatory practices.

“Thousands of families have felt the financial consequences of Wells Fargo’s aggressive, predatory and fraudulent practices, and they deserve to see the bank held accountable,” Tester said. “In light of these new revelations, we need to know now that Wells Fargo is changing their culture and will make these families whole again.”

Tester said the new charges against Wells Fargo suggest that last year’s fraudulent account scandal went beyond merely opening additional bank accounts without the permission of customers.

Last week, Wells Fargo acknowledged that borrowers may have been wrongly pushed into buying costly auto insurance policies despite having their own coverage, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Tester and 10 other members of the Senate banking committee on Wednesday sent a letter to committee chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, asking him to hold a hearing on the issue.

“Many committee members have sought additional information from Wells Fargo about these developments, with varying degrees of success,” the letter read. “A hearing would give members the opportunity to hear directly from the bank’s top leadership about these developments.”

In the 10 months since former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf testified before the committee regarding the bank’s past fraudulent actions, Tester said new allegations have surfaced.

Among them, the bank revealed it may have opened more than the 2 million fake accounts it disclosed last year, and it likely signed customers to insurance products, deducted monthly, without their permission.

The letter also suggests that Wells Fargo filed inaccurate termination notices for employees after opening unauthorized accounts, while the bank allegedly retaliated against employees who attempted to report the opening of the fake accounts.

“And just in the past weeks, the bank accidentally released confidential information on thousands of its wealthy advisory clients and admitted that it signed up hundreds of thousands of its auto-loan customers for insurance without their consent,” the letter concludes.

Tester has created a portal on his website enabling Montanans affected by the bank’s fraudulent practices to get help from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.