Hannah Levitt, Bloomberg, January 27, 2020
Wells Fargo & Co.’s finance chief was promising analysts they would be kept abreast of the bank’s efforts to resolve scandals when his new boss chimed in. “I just want to be clear, I’m not suggesting here that any of these public issues will be closed this year,” Chief Executive Officer Charlie Scharf said earlier this month. “The time frames will be driven by when we accomplish that work and when the regulators are satisfied by it.”
The firm has yet to reach settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission after setting aside more than $3 billion for litigation in the second half of last year. And in its quarterly filings, the bank lists an array of other open-ended probes, investigations and sanctions including a Federal Reserve-imposed growth cap.
It’s a strikingly long tail for a scandal that began with the 2016 revelation that employees had opened millions of potentially fake accounts to meet sales goals, possibly overcharging customers by a few million dollars. That unleashed a public and political backlash that has kept Wells Fargo in a harsh light ever since.
“There’s this sort of free-floating anger and fury that’s out there in the populace, and anything that sticks its head up that’s a problem that isn’t resolved in the right way, it coalesces,” Davia Temin, founder of crisis consultancy Temin & Co., said in an interview. “That fury is magnificent — it is stunning in its destructive power.” […read more]