Wells Fargo CEO: ‘Critics don’t know what they’re talking about’

Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan has worked at the San Francisco-based bank for more than 31 years, but he doesn’t view his position as an insider as part of an endemic, cultural problem that contributed to years of scandal at the bank.

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“Most of that criticism is from people that don’t know anything about the company and, candidly, don’t know what they’re talking about, right?” Sloan told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo during an interview on Tuesday. “I think that would be absolutely the appropriate criticism if after being in this role for a year and a half, we hadn’t made any changes.”

Wells Fargo came under renewed fire last week for its retirement practices. The Labor Department is reportedly investigating whether Wells Fargo pressured clients in lower-cost corporate 401(k) accounts to switch to more expensive IRA plans when they retired or left their jobs, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Under federal law, managers of the retirement savings accounts are governed by fiduciary responsibilities – meaning they have to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own.

But this isn’t the first time Wells Fargo was tangled in controversies: Two weeks ago, federal regulators slapped the bank with a $1 billion fine for misbehavior in its auto and mortgage businesses, like charging customers for auto insurance they didn’t need, or pushing some to default on their loans and lose their cars through repossession.

And in 2016, the bank admitted it had opened millions of fraudulent accounts, unbeknown to most customers. At the time, Sloan was the company’s chief financial officer and president, until he was selected to replace embattled CEO John Stumpf, who resigned immediately in the aftermath of the scandal.

Sloan dismissed concerns, however, that the company needed to bring in outsiders to end the era of scandals. Leadership, he said, took responsibility and made the necessary changes to the organization and board.

“We’re making things right for our customers,” he said. “And we’re continuing to innovate and grow this company.”