Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) on Tuesday railed against Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan — and the banking chief accused her of scaring people with mathematics.
Using figures from the bank’s own financial plan, Warren said at a Senate Banking Committee hearing that Wells Fargo planned to cut expenses by firing tens of thousands of employees.
“If you stick to your current plan, it is clear Wells Fargo employees making $30,000 or $40,000 a year are going to get screwed, just as they got screwed in the fake account scandals before,” she said. “It was executives who demanded new accounts be created at all costs, but it was 5,300 frontline employees who paid for that with their jobs.”
The senator said Wells Fargo was trying to save its reputation by blaming their problems on low-level employees.
“The only way we are ever going to stop these scandals is to hold executives personally accountable,” Warren added. “To fire the people who are responsible and when the break the law to march some of them out in handcuffs. Until we do that, these scandals are going to continue and working people are going to continue to take the brunt of it.”
But Sloan said he disagreed with almost everything Warren had said.
“I think it is inappropriate to take various statements out of context and multiply numbers and then apply them to people, because then what you’re saying — you’re scaring people and that is inappropriate,” he remarked.
Sloan insisted that he was dedicated to protecting his employees. “We care about our team members,” he said.
Earlier in the hearing, Warren said Sloan should be fired over a banking scandal where millions of fraudulent accounts were created without customers’ knowledge.
“At best you were incompetent, at worst you were complicit,” Warren remarked. “Either way, you should be fired.”
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