House panel launches Wells Fargo probe

The House Financial Services Committee is opening a formal investigation into wrongdoing at Wells Fargo.

The banking panel announced Friday that it was calling on Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf to testify before the panel later in September. In addition, the panel is demanding internal documents from the bank and regulators pertaining to when the improper activity was uncovered and will be calling in bank officials for interviews.


The panel did not rule out subpoenas to compel testimony if required.

Wells Fargo has been in Washington’s spotlight ever since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) levied a record $185 million fine on the bank after it discovered thousands of bank employees had secretly opened millions of accounts for existing customers to meet sales goals.

But the House probe will not just scrutinize Wells Fargo. In letters sent to top officials at the CFPB and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) also asked for any documents tied to the regulators' supervisory practices at the bank. The letter noted that the wrongdoing first surfaced in 2011, so it is possible Republicans critical of the agencies could also want to explore how the false account creation could go on for so long without government action.

Stumpf is already set to testify before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday.

This post updated at 12:21 pm.