The U.S. Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has told Congress he would use his office’s power to review any candidate put forward by Wells Fargo as the scandal-plagued bank’s new CEO, according to a report by Reuters.
Joseph Otting told the governing body that he would use legal powers usually reserved for the oversight of financially troubled lenders.
However, the findings will not be made public, a move that drew sharp criticism from U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a presidential candidate, who fought him on the issue during a Senate Banking Committee hearing.
“At this point in time, I do not have plans to release that information,” Otting told Warren during a contentious exchange.
Warren and others have said the OCC is not hard enough on Wells Fargo, a claim that was disputed by Otting on Wednesday (May 15).
In the hearing, Otting said he doesn’t like how the bank is progressing toward fixing its risk management and leadership problems, which have led to a number of issues for the bank, including customer abuse scandals in its mortgage and auto lending business.
In 2016, Wells Fargo admitted it had potentially opened millions of unauthorized accounts in customers’ names. Investigations from both inside and outside the bank have discovered numerous other issues and resulted in billions in fines and penalties.
Former CEO Tim Sloan left the bank in late March, saying the spotlight on him had become too distracting. Wells Fargo General Counsel C. Allen Parker is the company’s interim CEO.
The search for a CEO is expected to be more difficult in the wake of the scandals, and also the regulatory and congressional oversight the bank is currently experiencing. The bank wants to find someone outside of its sphere who can right the ship.
There is also an issue with how much the bank can pay a new CEO, Reuters is reporting. The Federal Reserve has placed a restriction on the bank to hamper its balance sheet growth until it can demonstrate that its risk management controls have improved.