Comptroller Stringer Responds to Reports that Wells Fargo’s Sanger Will Step Down

In the wake of an auto insurance scandal, Stringer feels the board has more work to do.

Last week, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer demanded the resignation of  Wells Fargo independent board Chairman Stephen Sanger. Thursday, a report from Dow Jones indicates his demands may have been met.

Stringer issued a letter last week to the $330 billion banking giant’s independent directors to the board calling for Sanger to be replaced following a recent scandal in which the company allegedly charged more than 500,000 retail customers for auto loan insurance that they had neither requested nor needed.

In addition to legal and mounting reputational risks, the scandal cost Wells Fargo $80 million in immediate remediation costs.

“There’s no doubt that today’s news is positive, both for long-term shareholders and for everyday Americans. The board must be refreshed, trust must be restored, and action must happen quickly. We should consider this the beginning—not the end—of a thoughtful transformation of the company’s culture,” Stringer said in a statement, responding to the report. “Wells Fargo defrauded Americans for a decade—and only recently disclosed a new auto-insurance scandal. Working families feel like the deck is stacked, and the actions of this bank encapsulate why. That’s why we’re going to keep holding the company’s feet to the fire, and keep demanding transparency and accountability.”
In addition to Sanger stepping down, Stringer’s letter also called for a complete board overhaul, disclosing the full facts and underlying circumstances of the scandal to investors, holding those in management and employee staff with ties to the allegations accountable (after investigation and determination), and recommending “all appropriate remedial and forward-looking actions.”

Wells Fargo directors are planning to make final decisions on any changes by early September, Dow Jones said.

Wells Fargo declined to comment.

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