Tim Sloan, president and chief executive of Wells Fargo, arrives for a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Members of the House Financial Services Committee kept Sloan on his toes throughout Tuesday's hearing as the CEO fought to convince them that the beleaguered bank has cleaned up its act after a series of scandals that affected millions of customers. Sloan would not commit to say whether Wells would consider backing a law that let customers who believed they had been defrauded or misled sue banks rather than be forced into arbitration.
"With all of this experience, the length of time you have been there and the roles that you have played, you have not been able to keep Wells Fargo out of trouble, you keep getting fined", Walters told Sloan.
"OK, so these companies run private detention facilities run by ICE, which is involved in caging children, but I'll move on", Ocasio-Cortez conceded. Within risk, the company has three "lines of defense" - front-line risk, independent risk management, and audit - to ensure multiple layers of review and to improve internal oversight.
"I don't know how to answer that question because we weren't", answered Sloan. Sloan said the bank was not involved in the caging of children although it had provided financing to a company that engaged in prison construction.
On Tuesday, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) flagged these quotes from filings in an ongoing class-action lawsuit against Wells Fargo that alleges the company hurt shareholders by hiding its vehicle repossession scandal from the public in the months after the fake-account scandal.
Sloan firmly rebuffed claims by Waters that Wells Fargo should be broken up.
'We have discarded our old decentralized structure that allowed prior problems to occur, ' wrote Sloan in remarks he will deliver before Congress. Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina - where Wells Fargo has a large presence - said that the bank has entered into settlements with every single one of its federal regulators.
Sloan took the helm at the nation's fourth-biggest bank in October 2016, a month before the phony account scandal. Wells has paid more than $1.5 billion in penalties to federal and state regulators and $620 million to settle lawsuits in connection with various abuses.
The committee's ranking Republican Patrick McHenry made it clear that his party would not go soft on the country's fourth-largest USA bank as they sought evidence it had remedied customer abuses.
The lending giant has been plagued by scandal after scandal over the last two years, from opening millions of unauthorized customer accounts to charging mortgage borrowers fees they didn't owe and mistakenly foreclosing on hundreds of homeowners.
Such abuses caused the Federal Reserve to impose an unprecedented cap on Wells Fargo's growth previous year, a restriction that remains in effect.
Other scandals engulfing the biggest US mortgage lender have included selling auto insurance and other financial products to customers who didn't need them; charging service members higher rates on loans than allowed by law; and improperly selling complex financial products to retail investors.
The shares were up 0.2 percent in early afternoon trading Monday, a fraction of the gains at other big banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc.
Sloan said since taking over as chief executive, he's been working to "address the root causes" of the company's recent controversies.