Elizabeth Warren Tells Wells Fargo CEO He Should Resign

John Stumpf, stumped.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren excoriated Wells Fargo chief executive John Stumpf during a Senate hearing Tuesday, after the banking behemoth secretly used customers’ information to establish millions of dummy accounts in order to meet its sales goals.

“You should resign,” Warren said at the end of their tense exchange, “and you should be criminally investigated.”

Wells Fargo has paid $185 million to settle these “cross-selling” allegations, which Warren called a “massive, years-long scam.” After reading aloud Wells Fargo’s “Vision and Values Statement,” the Massachusetts senator asked if Stumpf had made any meaningful effort to hold himself accountable, as he publicly vowed to do.

WARREN: This is about responsibility. Have you returned one nickel of the millions of dollars that you were paid while this scam was going on?

STUMPF: The board will take care of that.

WARREN: Have you returned one nickel that you earned while this scam was going on?

STUMPF: And the board will do—

WARREN: I will take that as a no then.

Stumpf made $19.3 million in 2015, including a performance bonus of $12.5 million. Warren noted that, while these bogus accounts were being created, he held an average of 6.75 million shares of Wells Fargo stock, which rose by roughly $30.

“Here’s what really gets me about this, Mr. Stumpf. If one of your tellers took a handful of $20 bills out of the crash drawer, they’d probably be looking at criminal charges for theft. They could end up in prison,” Warren said in her closing statement. “But you squeezed your employees to the breaking point so they would cheat customers and you could drive up the value of your stock and put hundreds of millions of dollars in your own pocket.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, Warren’s kindred progressive in the Senate, penned a short letter to financial regulators, plainly asking if any criminal referrals had been made to the Justice Department.