WASHINGTON — The CEO of San Francisco-based Wells Fargo apologized before harshly critical senators Tuesday for betraying customers' trust in a scandal over allegations that employees opened millions of unauthorized accounts and moved money into them.
Chief Executive John Stumpf showed contrition in testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, saying he is "deeply sorry" that the bank failed to meet its responsibility to customers and didn't act sooner to stem what he called "this unacceptable activity." He promised that the bank will contact every affected customer.
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the panel's chairman, said Wells Fargo had a corporate culture "that drove company 'team members' to fraudulently open millions of accounts using their customers' funds and personal information without their permission."
"If there were ever a textbook case where consumers needed protecting, this was it," Shelby said.
As part of the sharp questioning, Stumpf was pressed on whether Wells Fargo employees committed fraud, and Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said it would be "malpractice" if the bank doesn't institute compensation clawbacks.