Former Wells Fargo CEO issued with lifetime ban and $17.5m fine

24 January 2020: The Former CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf, has been issued with a lifetime ban from the banking industry by the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Stumpf must also pay $17.5 million following his role in leading the bank through a number of high-profile misconduct cases and the notorious fake accounts scandal. 

The OCC has said that Stumpf, along with other executives at the time, “failed to adequately perform their duties and responsibilities, which contributed to the bank’s systemic problems with sales practices misconduct from 2002 until October 2016.” It added that “the misconduct of these individuals allowed the practices to continue for years, affecting millions of bank customers and thousands of lower-level bank employees.”

OCC has similarly fined seven other Wells Fargo executives around $40m cumulatively in connection to “the banks systemic sales practices misconduct.” 

It is interesting to see that, since the phased introduction of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime, starting in 2016, the UK has seen just one instance of action brought against a chief executive. The US, however, does not have an SMCR structure in place, yet is issuing massive fines and penalties.