| WASHINGTON, March 17
WASHINGTON, March 17 The top Democrat on a key
U.S. House of Representatives committee has demanded a chance to
interview executives of Wells Fargo & Co, which has been
embroiled in a scandal over fake accounts, because she said
Republicans already had that opportunity in December.
In a letter to the bank on Friday, House Financial Services
ranking member Maxine Waters of California said she wants to ask
Chief Executive Timothy Sloan and other senior Wells Fargo
officials questions about the scandal.
"I reiterate my request that Wells Fargo provide Democratic
Committee staff the same opportunity it provided to Republican
Committee staff to meet with the aforementioned executives for
unrecorded interviews," Waters wrote.
"Scheduling these interviews would be a small step in
reassuring me and my staff that Wells Fargo is sincere when it
says it wants to 'make things right' for its customers."
A Wells Fargo spokeswoman said the bank is committed to
"responding appropriately" to committee requests. "We have fully
cooperated with the House Financial Services Committee’s
investigation, including by voluntarily participating in the
September 2016 hearing, producing over 140,000 pages of
documents, answering more than 50 written and numerous oral
questions, and making our most senior leadership available for
interviews," the spokeswoman said.
Last September, Wells Fargo paid $190 million to settle with
the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other
regulators after its staff opened as many as 2.1 million
checking, savings and credit card accounts without customer
The scandal prompted then-CEO John Stumpf to resign, and the
bank still faces investigations by multiple states, a parallel
criminal probe by the U.S. Justice Department and a civil probe
by the Securities and Exchange Commission into whether it misled
investors and wrongfully retaliated against whistleblowers.
Wells Fargo has said it is focused on providing the
accountability and oversight its customers deserve.
Waters, as a member of the minority political party in
Congress, cannot subpoena the Wells Fargo executives without
consent from the committee's Republican majority.
In her letter, she said Sloan, along with Chief Financial
Officer John Shrewsberry, General Counsel James Strother and
Chief Risk Officer Michael Loughlin, participated in unrecorded
interviews with Republican committee staffers between Dec. 5 and
Dec. 7, 2016.
A spokesman for House Financial Services Chairman Jeb
Hensarling said the Republican staffers briefed the minority
member staffers on the interviews, and shared more than 100,000
pages of records gathered for the panel's investigation into the
(Editing by Matthew Lewis)