As the bank continues to rebuild its image, Wells Fargo CFO John Shrewsberry insisted Friday that the institution has taken aggressive steps and has held its leaders accountable for the fake accounts scandal.
Shrewsberry’s remarks came the same day the bank reported earnings that disappointed Wall Street — and a day after Sen. Elizabeth Warren ripped into Wells Fargo during a committee hearing, repeating her demand to Fed Chair Janet Yellen that the board members involved in the episode should be tossed from office.
In an interview on CNBC’s “Closing Bell,” Shrewsberry did not address that demand specifically, but said Warren’s comments neglected a lot of the work Wells Fargo has done.
“There’s work on culture with employees, there’s a lot of executive accountability that has been taken into account,” he said. “The board conducted a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of the root causes why things happened the way they did and what should be done about it, and there’s still work under way.”
The bank in September 2016 agreed to pay a $185 million fine related to charges that employees created some two million accounts for customers without their knowledge. The workers did so to meet aggressive sales quotas the bank had to enroll customers in multiple programs.
Since then, former CEO John Stumpf has left the bank and a handful of other executives have departed as well. The bank recently announced another settlement, this time of $142 million to take care of a class-action lawsuit.
However, the bank’s shares have underperformed and Warren and others continue to call for more accountability.
“There’s a lot of work going on,” Shrewsberry said. “She didn’t refer to any of that, which is fine. But we’re talking about it with our customers, with our stakeholders including our investors and etc., and things are working.”
The bank earned $1.07 a share in the second quarter, ahead of analyst estimates of $1.01. However, the bottom line got a four-cent boost from a sale of Wells Fargo’s insurance unit, and revenue missed expectations, sending shares down as much as 2 percent at one point Friday before ending the day off 1.1 percent.
Shrewsberry nevertheless saw the quarter as positive.
“Overall, actually it was really quite solid,” he said. “We’re improving things. We’re building a better bank.”