Wells Fargo CFO: Don't expect 'mission accomplished' on scandals anytime soon

by Ryan Smith31 May 2018

It doesn’t look like Wells Fargo will be sounding the all-clear to signal the end of its scandals anytime soon. The banking giant’s chief financial officer, John Shrewsberry, said Wednesday at an industry conference that Wells Fargo probably won’t declare a formal end to the repeated scandals that have sullied its reputation over the past two years.

“That whole ‘mission accomplished’ thing has failed people before,” Shrewsberrry said. He said that the bank didn’t expect any further scandals to be uncovered by its ongoing review of business practices, but that there wasn’t much advantage in making any blanket statements guaranteeing the company would be scandal free from here on out.

Wells Fargo has endured scandal after scandal since September of 2016, when it was revealed that bank sales staff had opened up millions of customer accounts without those customers’ knowledge or consent. Since then, the banking giant has come under the microscope for allegedly retaliating against whistleblowers, charging mortgage clients improper fees, and charging auto-loan customers for unnecessary car insurance. It has also been repeatedly sued for allegedly discriminating against minority mortgage customers. Earlier this month, it was revealed that employees in the bank’s wholesale unit were altering internal records about corporate clients without those clients’ knowledge, according to a Bloomberg report.  That practice was still going on as recently as this year, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

“We find things now that are immaterial but newsworthy that make people feel like there’s’ a bigger something wrong going on than maybe there is – which you feed by saying ‘mission accomplished,’” Shrewsberry said. “So I don’t think you’re going to hear those words.”

Shrewsberry did say, however, that the bank’s investigation to find potential additional wrongdoing was “virtually complete.”

“I’m sure there’ll be some still to work on going into next year, but our investors know everything that’s material that we know,” he said.


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