The Progressive


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For Immediate Release
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Wells Fargo Cross-Selling Mania Appeared to Start in 1998; Report Highlights Need for Breakup Study

 Statements of Public Citizen Experts

Note: A report issued Monday by the independent directors of the Wells Fargo board found that warning signs about the corporation's misdeeds dated to 2004. However, Wells Fargo's cross-selling mania went back at least a decade - possibly as far back as 1998, Public Citizen research shows. Also Monday, Wells Fargo announced that it would claw back $75 million from two senior executives linked to its fake account scandal. Below are statements from two Public Citizen experts.

"Monday's report underscores what we found last fall: that Wells Fargo's cross-selling mania began long before it became public. Wells Fargo increased its reported number of products per customer in every year from 1998 to 2009. Investigators have revealed in grim detail the unheeded warnings that dated to 2004. But they need to do more digging to learn the full extent of the wrongdoing."
- Michael Tanglis, researcher, Public Citizen's Congress Watch division

"Public Citizen welcomes a clawback of pay from former CEO John Stumpf and community bank unit leader Carrie Tolstedt. But the Wells Fargo report itself identifies more than a decade of failure in recognizing the problem of fake accounts. Public Citizen has advanced a shareholder resolution for the forthcoming annual meeting calling for a breakup study. Monday's report buttresses our argument that the bank is too big to manage. vReal accountability for managers will come from federal prosecutors examining whether this episode deserves sterner penalties. No senior banker has been held to account for the massive frauds associated with the financial crash. This sad legacy should end."
- Bart Naylor, financial policy advocate, Public Citizen's Congress Watch division

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people - not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

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