Wells Fargo CEO to Testify over Scandal

Honolulu Star - Advertiser, September 13, 2016 | Go to article overview

Wells Fargo CEO to Testify over Scandal


Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf was asked to testify in Washington on the bank's alleged misconduct after it agreed to pay fines over claims that it opened more than 2 million unauthorized accounts. The lender instructed workers in U.S. call centers to temporarily halt cross-selling of financial products.

The Senate Banking Committee plans to hold a hearing Sept. 20 on Wells Fargo, following last week's enforcement case in which regulators accused bank employees of opening deposit and credit-card accounts without customer approval to meet sales goals. Stumpf is among the executives who've been asked to appear, a spokeswoman for the committee said Monday.

The allegations have been a black eye for San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, the biggest U.S. home lender and a marquee investment for billionaire Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is the bank's largest shareholder. The cross-selling suspension is among a list of the bank's responses to the case.

"We asked the team to pause on the sales part of our calls," Mary Eshet, a spokeswoman for the lender, said Monday. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on the suspension and the hearing.

Business owners still tepid on economy

Small-business owners aren't very upbeat about the economy, but they're also not particularly pessimistic. That's the finding of a semiannual survey of owners taken in July and August and released last week by the advocacy group National Small Business Association.

Owners' view of the economy has changed little from a similar survey taken in December. When asked to compare the economy now versus a year ago, 32 percent said it was improved, the same number as in December. A third said it was worse, up slightly from 29 percent. And 35 percent described the economy as about the same, down from 39 percent.

In its analysis, the NSBA said the negativity of the presidential election campaign likely is the biggest contributor to owners' lack of enthusiasm about the economy. The NSBA noted that only 44 percent of owners said the economy is better off than it was five years ago, although the economy is actually greatly improved since 2011.

Potash, Agrium to form huge crop company

NEW YORK >> Potash Corp. and Agrium said Monday that they are combining to create the world's largest crop nutrient company. The Canadian companies both sell fertilizers and nutrients to farmers that help them grow their crops. The new company will have 20,000 employees, a market value of $36 billion and annual revenue of $20.6 billion, the companies said. …

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