Warren: Former Wells Fargo execs should 'face handcuffs' over sales scandals

Warren: Former Wells Fargo execs should 'face handcuffs' over sales scandals
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Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren calls on big banks to follow Capital One in ditching overdraft fees Crypto firm top executives to testify before Congress Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won't seek reelection MORE (D-Mass.) on Thursday called for former Wells Fargo executives to face arrest after a federal bank regulator announced its intent to charge five former bank officials over a series of abusive sales practices.

"Giant banks like Wells Fargo will only clean up their act when their executives know they'll face handcuffs when they preside over massive fraud," Warren said in a Thursday night statement. 

"Tomorrow morning, former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf will wake up to his cushy retirement while the thousands of low-level branch employees who took the fall for him — and the hundreds of thousands of consumers who were cheated on his watch — continue to deal with the repercussions of his scams,” continued Warren, a 2020 presidential candidate.

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Warren was responding to a Thursday announcement by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) that the agency will file civil charges against five former Wells Fargo executives 

Those losses included $600 million in fines levied by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an agency Warren designed as an adviser to former President Obama.

The OCC also reached a $17.5 million settlement with Stumpf, the former Wells Fargo chief who presided over several sales scandals, including a ban on further employment in the banking industry that he can later appeal.

Wells Fargo admitted to charging customers fees on millions of accounts opened without their consent or sold through misleading tactics. The bank has paid billions of dollars in fines and legal settlements since 2016 and is operating under an unprecedented cap on asset growth imposed by the Federal Reserve.

The OCC is seeking charges against Carrie Tolstedt, former head of the Wells Fargo’s Community Bank; Claudia Russ Anderson, former Community Bank Group risk officer; James Strother, former general counsel; David Julian, former chief auditor; and Paul McLinko, former executive audit director.

The OCC’s complaint will be the first charges filed by a federal agency against individual former Wells Fargo executives. Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf said in a Thursday statement that the OCC’s charges "are consistent with our belief that significant parts of the operating model of our Community Bank were flawed.”

Scharf said the bank will be withholding any compensation still owed to those facing charges.