Is it time for Wells Fargo's CEO to go?

by Ryan Smith26 Nov 2018

With no end in sight to Wells Fargo’s seemingly limitless supply of scandals, how long can CEO Tim Sloan last? That’s the question being asked by many market observers more than two years into the banking giant’s slog through numerous controversies.

In September of 2016, Wells Fargo admitted that it had created millions of unauthorized customer accounts. Since that time, the bank’s scandals haven’t died down – they’ve grown, with new revelations of misbehavior coming at breakneck speed. Those revelations – of alleged housing discrimination, unnecessary mortgage fees, unauthorized insurance charges, and more – have caused many to call for Sloan’s ouster, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

Among those calling for Sloan’s exit is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who said that Sloan, a three-decade veteran of the megabank, either knew or should have known about the bank’s various misdeeds long ago. Last month, Warren asked the Federal Reserve not to lift sanctions it had levied against Wells Fargo until Sloan hands in his resignation.

Sloan is likely to face even more pressure as Democrats take control of the House, the Times reported. With Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) – no fan of Wells Fargo – likely to take the reins of the House Financial Services Committee, it’s likely Sloan will find himself called to testify before Congress. And that could well seal his fate, Raymond James public policy analyst Ed Mills told the Times.

“I think the wild card here really is if and when that hearing comes. Unless (Sloan shows) up and (is) able to go on the offensive and come in with a solid performance that reestablishes confidence,” Wells Fargo might be “forced to make additional changes,” Mills said.

Sloan was elevated to CEO after the departure of John Stumpf, who left as a result of the fake-accounts scandal.