Stumpf to Redo Senate Apology in House, Despite Poor Reviews

  • Wells Fargo CEO says bank to end retail sales goals by Oct. 1
  • House testimony on Thursday could differ from prepared remarks

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Wells Fargo & Co.’s Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf, struggling to quell a scandal and demands for management accountability, plans to offer House lawmakers the same apology he gave Senators last week.

In prepared remarks for a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Thursday, Stumpf says he failed to fulfill his responsibility to Wells Fargo customers and lays out a timeline of the bank’s attempts to deter misconduct, according to a copy of the testimony obtained by Bloomberg News. Stumpf plans to tell lawmakers that he is "deeply sorry" and that the abuses -- which imposed fees on clients, and may have hurt credit scores for some -- wasn’t an “orchestrated effort.”

“I have been with Wells Fargo through many challenges, none that pains me more than the one we will discuss," Stumpf said. “I want to apologize to all Wells Fargo customers. I want to apologize for violating the trust our customers have invested in Wells Fargo. And I want to apologize for not doing more sooner to address the causes of this unacceptable activity."

The only change in Stumpf’s prepared remarks for the House is an update on timing for the elimination of sales goals. Wells Fargo has decided to end product sales goals for retail bank employees by Oct. 1 after previously saying it would make that change Jan. 1.

Stumpf’s prepared testimony may differ from what he delivers orally, as was the case last week when he appeared before a Senate panel. Stumpf told lawmakers on Sept. 20 the board was actively engaged on the account issue and that he would accept any actions taken with respect to executives, which was an addition to his prepared remarks. There is no mention of clawbacks or executive pay in Stumpf’s House testimony.

The scandal ignited Sept. 8, when the San Francisco-based bank agreed to pay a record $185 million to authorities including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after a review found employees may have opened more than 2 million accounts and credit cards without consumers’ permission.

A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo didn’t have an immediate comment.

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