Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPoll: Biden leads Trump by double digits in Pennsylvania Warren to bank regulator who found her question insulting: 'Good' Harris invokes 'Handmaid's Tale' after Alabama lawmakers pass abortion law MORE (D-Mass.) squared off with a top Trump administration bank regulator on Wednesday over his decision to keep parts of the agency's oversight of Wells Fargo confidential.
Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential contender, squabbled with Joseph Otting over whether he should release his review of the bank's pending choice for a new chief executive.
Otting, chief of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), said during a Senate Banking Committee hearing that the agency would decide whether to approve Wells Fargo’s eventual pick for a new CEO. But Otting said he would not reveal the findings of its decisionmaking process.
Otting told Warren that it was his “prerogative” whether to release the information, and insisted that “no one has been more tougher” or “more outspoken” about Wells Fargo’s scandals than himself.
“At the OCC? That’s a low bar,” Warren replied, dinging the agency for what she called a track record of insufficient oversight of banks.
When Otting told Warren he found her comment “insulting,” the senator shot back, “Good.”
Warren has frequently called out Trump-appointed financial regulators for their response to various sales scandals at Wells Fargo. The bank is operating under unprecedented federal penalties and oversight from the Federal Reserve Board and OCC, including a cap on growth imposed last February.
Former Wells Fargo president and chief executive Timothy Sloan resigned from the bank in April, just weeks after Warren and other top Democrats called for his removal.
“People all across this country were scammed and squeezed by Wells Fargo,” Warren said Wednesday.
“Their houses were taken away, their cars were stolen, because the bank’s executives were more concerned about making mountains of money that about following the law, and the OCC never uttered a peep about their executives who were leading this."
“This time you need to show your work and make your supervision public. That way, consumers and Congress can hold you accountable, too.”
The Fed and OCC both rebuked Wells Fargo in March for failing to make sufficient progress toward preventing future sales scandals and complying with settlements with the regulators. The Fed also banned Wells Fargo from growing until it submitted a plan to fix internal sales practices and compliance checks that met the central bank’s approval. Wells Fargo has not yet done so.