(Reuters) – New Wells Fargo & Co Chief Executive Charlie Scharf testified on Tuesday that substantial change was underway at the bank as lawmakers grilled him on the status of its remediation efforts and contingency plans related to coronavirus.
“We are putting a substantially different group of people in charge of these issues,” he told members of the House Financial Services Committee.
Since taking over the scandal-plagued bank late last year, Scharf has shaken up its leadership and overhauled the bank’s business lines, winning over some regulators in the process.
Last week the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the bank’s top regulator, said it was encouraged by the new leadership. Many lawmakers were cautiously optimistic that Scharf was the right person for the job but said righting the bank would be a tall task.
“While I wish you luck, it is clear to this Committee that the bank you inherited is essentially a lawless organization that has caused widespread harm to millions of consumers throughout the nation,” Democratic House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters said in her opening remarks.
Waters on Thursday told reporters that after meeting with Scharf, she had no indication that he had a compelling plan for turning around the bank.
In a report released last week, the committee unearthed documents and emails that appeared to reveal complacency on the part of the bank’s directors and management, including board Chair Betsy Duke, regarding its various regulatory issues. Duke resigned on Monday.
When pressed for details on the status of the bank’s remediation efforts and a timeline for getting over the bank’s regulatory hurdles, Scharf was light on specifics but was clear that his management team was committed to working through the banks issues with a fresh sense of urgency.