State Sen. Steve Glazer said Wells Fargo's iconic
stagecoach once represented trust and honest,
but no more following its notorious scandal.
State Sen. Steve Glazer tore into Wells Fargo for misconduct involving millions of falsified customer accounts. But, Wells Fargo Chief Executive Steve Sloan wasn’t there to take the thumping.
Sloan never said he would attend Monday’s State Senate Banking Committee Oversight Hearing, said Glazer, its chairperson, but he also never declined the invitation.
The State Senate’s historian said it is the first time a corporation skipped an oversight hearing since disgraced energy provider Enron in the late 1990s.
“It’s sad to see Wells Fargo join this elite Hall of Shame,” said Glazer, who represents Contra Costa County and the Tri Valley in Alameda County. “Who could imagine that the bank that represented the values of honesty and fair-dealings for more than 160 years in California would now become an outlaw institution?"
Wells Fargo’s wrongdoing involved 2 million bank accounts, including 900,00 in California alone. Following a congressional hearing in October, Wells Fargo Chief Executive John Stumpf resigned.
A portion of Glazer’s intent through Monday’s hearing was to established how high up the chain of command knowledge of the bank’s illegal behavior had reached. Beforehand, correspondences and a meeting six weeks ago between Wells Fargo officials and Glazer, yielded no new information, he said, but more obfuscation.
“I remain unsatisfied on every material question,” said Glazer.
The senate banking committee, however, found evidence that 480 Wells Fargo branch managers were fired in last 5 years due to sales practice violations. Glazer asserted the number of firings suggests company executives should have been aware that problems existed. “This appears to be a company culture, an atmosphere of greed pushed from the top,” said Glazer.
Glazer said he hopes Wells Fargo provides in the near future a blueprint for how it intends to clean up its corporate culture.
This does not appear to be the last time Wells Fargo will be raked over the coals by state lawmakers. Glazer’s hearing followed a similar Assembly oversight hearing last month.