The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

CFPB Alone Cannot Cure Wells Fargo's Disease

Fed and OCC Must Step Up With Their Own Preventative Tools


In response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announcing $3.7 billion in fines against Wells Fargo this morning, Revolving Door Project Executive Director Jeff Hauser issued the following statement:

"By returning $2 billion to defrauded customers' pockets, CFPB Director Rohit Chopra continues to be the model whom all other regulators should aspire to resemble. I don't expect this excellent news to persuade any Republican members of Congress, whose objections to Chopra have never been in good faith. But any fair-thinking onlooker should see that he is laser-focused on serving the people -- not scoring political points or picking winners and losers, as the right often, desperately, alleges."

"The problem is that the CFPB cannot, by itself, solve what's wrong at Wells Fargo. The CFPB's consumer protection mandate doesn't grant it the legal tools to address all of the systemic issues at the top of Wells' org chart -- it can treat the symptoms of Wells' diseased policies, but it cannot tackle the disease itself. Chopra is genuinely doing all that he can, but other agencies, which have the proper tools to restrict and restructure the business itself, need to step up and find some of his fearlessness."

"Chopra said in his remarks that regulators ought to consider further preventative restrictions on Wells, specifically advancing beyond the Federal Reserve's 2018 asset cap and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency's 2021 mortgage servicing restrictions. These are excellent proposals. If Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr cannot see that Wells' lawlessness poses grave systemic risks, it will only confirm to us that his priority is advancing his career, not serving the people. Likewise, Acting OCC Director Michael Hsu should recognize that Wells' failures go well beyond mortgage servicing. It is time for regulators to stop individually picking away at the Wells behemoth, and start coordinating to genuinely bring this bank to heel."

The Revolving Door Project (RDP) scrutinizes executive branch appointees to ensure they use their office to serve the broad public interest, rather than to entrench corporate power or seek personal advancement.