On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton penned an open letter to Wells Fargo customers who fell victim to the bank’s illegal incentive practices. Earlier this month, the financial services giant was fined an unprecedented $185 million for opening 1.5 million fake bank accounts and 565,000 credit card accounts.
It’s scary to think a scam of this level had gone on without anyone figuring it out, but Clinton said she plans to address this “outrageous behavior” when she is president. She said a strong and safe banking system is key to a thriving economy. As a result, she aims to “enhance accountability” on Wall Street and will back the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And she wants to slash incomes for executives who condone the bad behavior:
“Executives should be held individually accountable when rampant illegal activity happens on their watch. Their compensation should take a hit if their companies pay major fines. And they must face appropriate legal consequences if they break the law.”
One of Clinton’s final points is to put plans into place that will ensure banks don’t get too big. Major financial institutions like Wells Fargo can grow beyond control and Clinton said she would put stopgaps into place:
“I’ll appoint regulators who will stand with taxpayers and consumers, not with big banks and their friends in Congress. I’ll fight hard to make sure that Wall Street is working for Main Street – not the other way around. We need to keep pushing to make the financial system safer and fairer. Let’s do it together.”
On Tuesday, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf apologized to a congressional panel. He admitted the bank’s lack of oversight was unacceptable and takes “full responsibility for all unethical sales practices.” A simple sorry may not soothe the financial wounds felt by its former customers, and Clinton’s plan seems like a way to avoid future situations like this one.