A Timeline of Wells Fargo's Sales Scandal

MarketsMotley Fool

It has now been a year since industry regulators revealed the sales scandal at Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC). As the following timeline shows, a lot has happened since then at the 165-year-old bank.

Wells Fargo sales scandal timeline

Continue Reading Below

Dec. 21, 2013 -- The Los Angeles Times reports that "relentless pressure to sell has battered employee morale and led to ethical breaches" at Wells Fargo. "To meet quotas, employees have opened unneeded accounts for customers, ordered credit cards without customers' permission, and forged client signatures on paperwork."

Sept. 8, 2016 -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reveals that thousands of Wells Fargo employees opened 2 million deposit and credit card accounts that consumers may not have authorized.

Sept. 13, 2016 -- The chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf, goes on Jim Cramer's show, Mad Money, in his first interview since the scandal was revealed. Stumpf appears to assign blame for the misconduct, which ultimately spanned a decade and a half and occurred throughout Wells Fargo's nationwide footprint:

Sept. 20, 2016 -- Stumpf testifies about the scandal to the Senate Banking Committee. He's panned in the media for being insufficiently contrite and unprepared for the senators' questions.

Sept. 27, 2016 -- The independent members of Wells Fargo's board announce that Stumpf will forfeit $41 million in unvested equity awards and not be paid a bonus for 2016. It was also announced that the former head of the bank's retail unit, Carrie Tolstedt, had left the company and will forfeit $19 million in unvested equity awards, and similarly not receive a bonus for 2016.

Sept. 29, 2016 -- Stumpf testifies before the House of Representative's Committee on Financial Services.

Oct. 12, 2016 -- Stumpf resigns as chairman and CEO. President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Sloan succeeds him at CEO, while former lead independent director Stephen Sanger becomes chairman. Stumpf says:

Oct. 14, 2016 -- Wells Fargo reports third-quarter earnings, the first with Sloan as CEO. According to Sloan's prepared remarks for the conference call:

Nov. 17, 2016 -- Issues first in a series of monthly updates on the performance of its retail unit in the wake of the scandal. The impact is seen in the 44% drop in the number of new consumer checking accounts opened in October compared with the year-ago period, as well as a 50% decline in new credit card applications.

Nov. 29, 2016 -- Wells Fargo's board of directors amends the bank's bylaws to require the separation of the chairman and CEO roles and for the chairman and vice chairman of the board to be independent directors. According to the bank's newly elected chairman, Stephen Sanger:

Feb. 20, 2017 -- Wells Fargo elects two new independent board members: Karen B. Peetz, retired president of The Bank of New York Mellon, and Ronald L. Sargent, retired chairman and CEO of office-supply retailer Staples.

Feb. 21, 2017 -- Wells Fargo fires four former leaders of its retail bank.

March 1, 2017 -- Wells Fargo reports that no members of its executive committee will receive bonuses for 2016 and that equity awards they received in 2014 that vest after 2016 will be reduced by up to 50%. The result is an aggregate reduction in compensation totaling approximately $32 million, according to the bank. Sanger says:

March 21, 2017 -- Sloan hosts a companywide town hall meeting to introduce six new long-term goals and preview a new national advertising campaign entitled "Building Better Every Day." From Sloan's prepared remarks:

March 28, 2017 -- The OCC, the primary regulator for national banks, downgrades Wells Fargo's Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rating to "Needs to Improve" as a result of "previously issued regulatory consent orders." Sloan says:

March 28, 2017 -- Wells Fargo says that it reached a $110 million agreement to settle a class action lawsuit filed in May 2015 over the bank's retail sales practices. Sloan says:

April 4, 2017 -- CEO Tim Sloan publishes open letter to the bank's customers to "thank them for their loyalty" and share updates regarding its retail sales practices. Sloan says:

April 7, 2017 -- Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services issues a report urging shareholders to vote against the re-election of 12 out of the bank's 15 board members. Wells Fargo's board responds with a prepared statement laying out eight steps the bank has taken in response to the sales scandal.

April 10, 2017 -- Wells Fargo releases the findings of an investigation into the company's retail sales practices overseen by a special committee of the bank's independent directors and assisted by the law firm Shearman & Sterling. Sloan says:

April 13, 2017 -- Wells Fargo reports first-quarter earnings. The bank's bottom line was flat, at $5.5 billion, but a number of other critical metrics show signs of strain, including its efficiency ratio and return on assets.

April 17, 2017 -- The bank launches the previously announced marketing campaign, Building Better Every Day.

April 21, 2017 -- Wells Fargo expands its class action settlement, previously announced in March, to include any customers who were affected by sales practice issues as early as May 2002, pushing the covered range back by seven years. The updated settlement will total $142 million. Sloan says:

April 25, 2017 -- Wells Fargo holds its annual meeting. Shareholders vent their ire at the bank by, among other things, reelecting the bank's board members with such underwhelming majorities that the results are seen by corporate governance experts as a vote of no confidence in all but three members of the board.

July 6, 2017 -- The bank forms a new stakeholder-relations group to "foster a more integrated approach to engaging with its key stakeholders." Former director of investor relations Jim Rowe is promoted to lead the group, reporting to Chief Administrative Officer Hope Hardison, who says:

July 8, 2017 -- The class action settlement for retail sales practices receives preliminary court approval. Sloan says:

July 27, 2017 -- Wells Fargo discloses that a separate internal investigation uncovered 570,000 customers with car loans form the bank who may have been inappropriately charged for failing to maintain qualifying insurance on their cars. "For approximately 20,000 customers, the additional costs of the insurance could have contributed to a default that resulted in the repossession of their vehicle," says the bank. Franklin Codel, head of Wells Fargo consumer lending, states:

Aug. 4, 2017 -- Sloan issues a companywide message on the bank's "rebuilding trust efforts," noting among other things that "[b]ecause there is so much interest in the work we are doing to rebuild trust, we can expect more headlines as we fulfill our commitment to identify and fix problems and make things right for our customers."

Aug. 15, 2017 -- Wells Fargo announces that three members of its board, including chairman Stephen Sanger, will retire at the end of the year. Former Federal Reserve governor Elizabeth "Betsy" Duke was unanimously elected by the board to replace Sanger, who says:

Aug. 22, 2017 -- Sloan issues a companywide message "to address team member questions and provide updates on the steps the company is taking to make things right for customers and build a better Wells Fargo."

Aug. 31, 2017 -- Wells Fargo reports the results of its expanded third-party review of its retail sales practices, increasing the number of potentially fake customer accounts up from 2.1 million to 3.5 million.

10 stocks we like better than Wells FargoWhen investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the 10 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Wells Fargo wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

Click here to learn about these picks!

*Stock Advisor returns as of September 5, 2017

John Maxfield owns shares of Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.