Washington, D.C.– The Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), released the following statement today following the testimony of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf before the Senate Banking Committee.
“At today’s hearing, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf failed to take responsibility for the role he and senior executives played in creating a culture of corruption that allowed for the rampant exploitation of the bank’s customers. Instead, he decided to blame low-wage rank-and-file bank workers for a scam from which he personally profited to the tune of $200 million How can executives claim to be competent stewards of the affairs of their bank, but not know or have no control over low-level employees?
“When workers feel like they have to open new accounts, falsify financial information, or steer consumers into costly and unnecessary products to meet unrealistic sales quotas, there is something wrong with the way the banking industry does business. Aggressive sales quotas and low-base wages put in place by bank executives force many front-line bank workers to choose between serving their customers’ needs and being able to put food on the table.
“While we applaud the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s swift efforts to protect consumers, we still need an aggressive investigation from the Department of Justice into potential criminal violations. Furthermore, bank employees played a critical role in standing up for their customers, and should be protected for raising concerns. If Wells Fargo fired whistleblowers or employees who failed to meet their sales quotas, it should do what is necessary to make these workers whole. Furthermore, we must empower financial service sector employees on the job and allow them to collectively bargain. This will clean up the commercial banking industry and ensure that customers, and those who work for them, are treated fairly.”
On June 14, 2016, the Congressional Progressive Caucus convened a roundtable discussion with bank workers that had been forced to sell products that would cause financial harm to bank customers. These workers testified about the toxic environment that exists in the industry where aggressive sales quotas and other exploitative compensation practices are commonplace.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.