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Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf on alleged abuses: 'I am accountable'

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf says he feels accountable for the alleged abusive sales practices that cost the company $185 million in fines.

The company announced on Thursday that it had reached a settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and two other agencies to pay $185 million in fines stemming from allegations abusive sales practices from employees attempting to meet sales goals.

"To the extent that we don't get it right 100% of the time — because that is our goal — if we don't make that plan I am responsible. I am accountable," Stumpf said in a "Mad Money" interview with Jim Cramer on Tuesday. "Anybody else in the company, we all feel when we fall short of that plan, we feel accountable and responsible. And we are taking action."





John Stumpf, CEO, Wells Fargo
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
John Stumpf, CEO, Wells Fargo

Shareholders of Wells Fargo have had a rough few days, as shares have fallen 7 percent since the beginning of last week.

The company commissioned a third party review of 93 million accounts stemming all the way back to 2011, Stumpf said. Of that total, approximately 2 million accounts were identified as possibly being unauthorized by customers. However, with the data they could not tell if they were authorized or not.

"We said to ourselves, we don't want one dime of income if we don't know if it is authorized or unauthorized," Stumpf said.

Wells Fargo ultimately determined that there were $2.6 million in fees that were charged to 115,000 accounts, averaging $25 per account. Stumpf said the company returned the money and apologized to the customers.

There are 100,000 team members working in the retail banking division of Wells Fargo, Stumpf said. Of that population, 5,300 employees were fired in connection to the issue.

"Of 100,000, a vast majority do the right thing … I love these people. Every year on average for the last 5 years, 1,000 did not do the right thing," Stumpf said, "That is still 1,000 too many."

On Tuesday, Wells Fargo announced that it would eliminate product sales goals for retail bankers. Stumpf viewed this as a step in the right direction to reduce risk at his company.

"The announcement we are making today about taking product sales goals off the table I think is another way of taking some risk off the table," he said.


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