In a televised senate inquiry published by C-SPAN Tuesday, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren blasted Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf for his role in a widespread scheme in which thousands of bankers opened more than 2 million accounts for customers without them knowing over at least five years. And she didn’t hold back.
The fierce Democratic senator forced Stumpf, who was under questioning from the Senate banking committee over his bank’s handling of the scam, to admit that no senior executives have been held accountable for the actions of the low-level bankers.
“This just isn’t right,” Warren said. “You squeezed employees to the breaking point” to drive up the stock price and your compensation, she said, referencing the bank’s fierce drive to “cross-sell” or make customers open up multiple accounts. “Then you went on television to blame thousands of $12-an-hour” workers.
“You say you ‘accept responsibility, and it was the fault of those 5,000 people? That’s not accepting responsibility,” Warren said. “You are scapegoating the people at the very bottom.”
And she wasn’t done.
“It’s gutless leadership,” the senator said. “You should resign. You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on and you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities & Exchange Commission,” Warren told Stumpf, after he admitted he hadn’t yet been held personally accountable for the actions of his employees.
Check out the exchange in the video below: