Buffett Says He’ll Wait Until November to Comment on Wells Fargo

Lawmakers Demand Accountability From Stumpf
  • Remarks now would lead down ‘too many paths,’ Buffett says
  • Berkshire speaks with Fox Business about reluctance to comment

Warren Buffett, the biggest investor in Wells Fargo & Co., said it’ll be more than a month before he publicly discusses the bank’s phantom-account scandal.

“If I start commenting on that or anything else, it will lead down too many paths so I will wait until November to speak about it, the election or any other subject,” Buffett told the Fox Business Network, according to an article on its website.

Wells Fargo is a sensitive topic for the billionaire, who controls a 10 percent stake in the San Francisco-based lender and is seeking Federal Reserve approval to increase the holding. Lawmakers from both major political parties faulted John Stumpf, the chief executive officer of the bank, at a Congressional hearing Tuesday into the practice of opening deposit and credit-card accounts without customers’ authorization. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, called for his resignation.

Buffett’s silence on Wells Fargo contrasts with his support of executives including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Lloyd Blankfein and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon when their companies drew regulatory scrutiny.

Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is backing the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton, a Democrat who wrote in a letter to the bank’s customers that she was “deeply disturbed” by Wells Fargo’s conduct. The election is scheduled for Nov. 8. Buffett didn’t return a call Wednesday seeking elaboration on his remarks to Fox.

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