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Public Citizen Calls for Intensified Wells Fargo Scrutiny

April 5, 2018

Public Citizen Calls for Intensified Wells Fargo Scrutiny

Statement of Bartlett Naylor, Financial Policy Advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

Note: Bloomberg reports that Wells Fargo’s sales quota pressures included its wealth client sector, where the bank steered clients into investments that benefited the firm at the expense of customers. Bloomberg cites one current and five former Wells Fargo employees.

President Donald Trump’s bank regulators must intensify their examination of Wells Fargo’s operations following Bloomberg’s latest report. Under the glare of public scrutiny over a morass of misconduct, Wells Fargo’s repeated abuses show that the bank is too big to regulate and too big to manage. In the end, Washington policymakers must face the inevitable and break up this megabank.

These latest allegations also spotlight the need for strong investor protections that ensure Wall Street places the interest of clients ahead of revenue. Cravenly, Trump’s regulators now are undermining the Obama administration‘s best interest standard, or “fiduciary rule,” which requires certain Wall Street agents to put the interests of their customers ahead of their own chances for better commissions when recommending investments. That best interest standard came from the U.S. Department of Labor. Trump’s Labor secretary has delayed implementation.