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Wells Fargo's scandal over unauthorized accounts shows that the bank is "too big," according to one expert.
Officials announced last week that Wells Fargo will pay $185 million in penalties and $5 million to customers for opening fee-generating accounts without authorization. Over a five-year period, 5,300 Wells Fargo employees were fired over the practice cited by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CNBC confirmed with Wells Fargo. The activity occurred in the company's community banking division.
"This is the dictionary definition of too big to manage and too big to regulate, isn't it? That's what too big to manage and too big to regulate looks like," Camden Fine, president and CEO of Independent Community Bankers of America said Wednesday on CNBC's "Power Lunch." The ICBA is a trade group that represents thousands of community banks.
The number of employees involved indicates this was a systemic issue and not just overambitious staffers, Fine said. He explained that it is a company's senior leadership that sets the culture and expectations.
"So either Mr. Stumpf and his senior executives set an inappropriate culture and expectations or they can't get their arms around their own organization. It's as simple as that," Fine said. Leaders of the bank should be held accountable in whatever way regulatory authorities determine is appropriate, he said.
Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf said the bank is sorry and deeply regrets "any situation where a customer got a product they did not request."
"There is nothing in our culture, nothing in our vision and values that would support that. It's just the opposite. Our goal is to make it right by a customer every time 100 percent and if we don't do that, we feel accountable," he said in an interview Tuesday on CNBC's "Mad Money."
Wells Fargo declined to respond to Fine's comments.