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Corporate Crime Still Pays at Wells Fargo

Sept. 13, 2016

Corporate Crime Still Pays at Wells Fargo

Public Citizen Experts Can Comment on Wells Fargo’s Lawbreaking, the Need for Greater Banking Regulation and Enforcement

Corporate crime has never paid so well. The Wells Fargo executive who oversaw – and evidently overlooked – years of widespread fraudulent activity by her employees is receiving $125 million in retirement compensation.

Over a period of several years, Wells Fargo employees opened roughly 1.5 million deposit accounts and applied for more than half a million credit card accounts that were not authorized by its customers. Employee compensation incentive programs set by management, which required aggressive cross-selling of the bank’s consumer financial products, encouraged this fraudulent behavior.

More than 5,000 workers have been fired, but the executives who supervised them have yet to face punishment of any kind. If a bank’s executives are so far removed from the activities of their employees that they are oblivious to widespread criminal activity, that’s an obvious sign that the bank is simply too big to manage.

The scope of the misconduct at Wells Fargo is breathtaking and demonstrates why our new consumer watchdog, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is essential. The agency played a key role in uncovering the fraud, and that’s why it is outrageous that Republicans in Congress at this very moment are advancing legislation that would dismantle the agency’s regulatory and enforcement powers.

Public Citizen’s experts are available to comment on this developing story. To speak with an expert, please contact our press office.