Wells Fargo Bank CEO John Stumpf just announced his resignation in disgrace, handing Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren a tremendous victory in her lifelong battle to protect American consumers from predatory financial dealings by big banks. Unfortunately, Wells Fargo’s one handed CEO Stumpf is also going to collect a mind-boggling $134 million dollar golden parachute payment with him, for failing to put a stop to his bank’s nationwide scheme to defraud their most loyal customers.
Senator Warren has vocally demanded punishment for the Wells Fargo executive, grilling him in a Senate committee hearing for “gutless leadership,” after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (that she helped launch) caught 5,300 Wells Fargo Bank’s employees – since fired – creating 2 million fake bank and credit card accounts:
“Since this massive, years long scam has come to light, you have said repeatedly ‘I am accountable.’ But what have you done to hold yourself accountable? Have you resigned as CEO or Chairman of Wells Fargo?”
This is the first recent instance of any bank executive being held personally accountable in any way for the failings of his or her institution in recent memory and it would never have happened without Senator Warren’s biting evisceration of Wells’ top banker. Warren conducted a systematic exposure of the colossal fraud perpetrated by the world’s largest financial institution, which boosted its stock price significantly by hyping his companies “cross selling” technique – which we now know to be nothing more than fraud.
Then she called for Stumpf to resign and “be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.” At least today, the Senator from Massachusetts can claim the first punishment on her agenda.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition