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Published: Wed, October 04, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Wells Fargo CEO defends bank in tough Senate hearing

Wells Fargo CEO defends bank in tough Senate hearing

"If that (report) is true, it directly contradicts your testimony to this committee", Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen told Sloan, who responded that he would look into the case.Wells Fargo is fighting some customers in court for now, company spokeswoman Jennifer Dunn said, but the bank has made a $142 million settlement offer to settle all disputes arising from the scandal, which erupted past year."As Tim emphasized today, Wells Fargo is committed to making things right with our customers", Dunn said.Senators also flagged problems involving the bank's auto insurance and mortgage fees that came to light months after Wells Fargo disclosed the phony accounts.

Many senators urged that the change in culture can not just be at the retail banking locations; it needs to go from the executive level down.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren led the charge, armed with transcripts of past earnings calls, in which the bank touted its prowess at getting customers to open multiple accounts.

At a Senate hearing Tim Sloan conceded poor oversight during the fake-accounts scandal, struggled to defend arbitration policies and was unconvincing about changing the bank's culture.

"At best you were incompetent, at worst you were complicit", Warren said.

"When a megabank has engaged in a pattern of extensive violations of law that harms millions of consumers, like Wells Fargo has, it should not be allowed to continue to operate within our nation's banking system", the report said, according to CNN.

"I have made mistakes, I haven't been flawless", he said. Republican Sen. John Neely Kennedy asked Sloan.

Senator Elizabeth Warren called for the chief executive, Tim Sloan, to be fired and board members replaced. Some senators across the aisle acknowledged Mr. Sloan's visits to their offices in recent days before the hearing, a change of tone from the bank's hearings past year. And after a long session of humble contrition on Tuesday in which senators from both parties pummeled him - including questions from Democrats on the lender's continued reliance on forced arbitration for customers - Sloan bit back.

Wells Fargo has rehired more than one-third of the employees it axed in the wake of the bank's fake accounts scandal, CEO Timothy Sloan said.

While Sloan said he remains "deeply sorry" for its previous sales practices, he was at times combative and defensive. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said at the start of the hearing. Wells Fargo also agreed to pay more than $140m to settle a class-action lawsuit.

Critics in the financial industry and Republicans in Congress say arbitration provides a faster and more cost-effective way to resolve disputes with consumers.

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