Rep. Maxine Waters has been calling the chairwoman of the Wells Fargo board of directors to account for her leadership decisions.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Duke, who shattered multiple glass ceilings for women in banking, has resigned following the publication of two congressional reports that were critical of her leadership. Another director, James Quigley, also put in his resignation.
The congressional report showed a “clear dereliction of duty” by Duke and Quigley. The two will soon testify in front of the House Financial Services Committee, which Waters chairs.
“For over a decade, Wells Fargo employees created millions of fake accounts in customers names, among other misconduct, to meet unreasonably high sales goals that the bank had set. Management knew about it, Wells Fargo agreed in a $3 billion settlement with the government, turned a blind eye to the practices and minimized the issue to the company’s board,” WBTV reported.
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Waters said in a statement that the settlement’s fine “barely dents” the bank’s profits.
“Since we were made aware of the egregious harms suffered by Wells Fargo’s customers, we were and remain fiercely determined to do right by them and to strengthen the bank’s culture and controls,” Duke and Quigley said in a statement. “We believe that our decision will facilitate the bank’s and the new CEO’s ability to turn the page and avoid distraction that could impede the bank’s future progress.”
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“Wells Fargo leaders have been in Washington’s crosshairs following a series of scandals that began with the 2016 revelation that bank employees opened millions of potentially fake accounts to meet sales goals. The company has faced unprecedented political and regulatory fallout in the years since, including repeated hearings, record fines for former executives and a growth cap put in place by the Federal Reserve,” American Banker reported.
“She should’ve stepped down a long time ago, frankly,” Ryan Cohen, the Chewy.com founder whose stake in Wells Fargo exceeds $300 million, said of Duke before her resignation.