CBAI Concerned That Wells Fargo Fraud Will Increase Regulatory Burden on Community Banks

This week's U.S. House hearing for John Stumpf, Chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo (the second largest bank in the nation), was as disastrous as his U. S. Senate hearing the previous week. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX-05) stated in his opening remarks, “Fraud is fraud and theft is theft. What happened at Wells Fargo over the course of many years cannot be described any other way.” On the other side of the aisle, Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA-43) provided Stumpf with no quarter when she stated in her opening remarks, “So, let’s call this what it really is: some of the most egregious fraud we have seen since the foreclosure crisis.”

CBAI is extremely concerned that the massive fraud committed by Wells Fargo will result in additional banking regulations which will likely apply directly or trickle down to innocent community banks.

    Committee member Roger Williams (R-TX-25) confirmed our suspicion when he stated, “Because of your actions, it’s really making it extremely difficult for me to advocate for Main Street or community banks. So I’ve got one simple question for you. When are you going to resign?”

    Committee member Burce Poliquin (R-ME-02) echoed William’s statement when he stated, “The probability will be high that your organization and the actions of you—this systemic pattern of misbehavior and gross mismanagement … is going to find its way to the community banks and the folks that rely on them.” “You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

These sentiments were shared by other members of the Committee. The prolonged criminal actions of Wells Fargo undermine the free enterprise system and make it exceedingly difficult to argue for reliance on the market discipline that virtually self-regulates the behavior of community banks.

CBAI will be closely monitoring the legislative and regulatory reaction to the Wells Fargo debacle to make sure Main Street community banks are not once again paying for the sins of the Wall Street mega banks with additional, excessive, costly, and inappropriate regulations.

October 5, 2016