Wells Fargo's move to terminate thousands of staffers while simultaneously defending senior executives in the wake of its fake accounts scandal was "despicable," Sen. Robert Menendez said Tuesday at a Capitol Hill hearing.
"I am personally appalled by the size, the scope, the duration and the impact of the scandal, and I must say that I'm shocked and incredibly disappointed by the response of Wells Fargo's corporate executives," the New Jersey Democrat told CEO John Stumpf.
"In the last week you and your chief financial officer have taken to the press and laid the blame squarely on low-paid retail bank employees, and while I don't excuse what they did by any stretch of the imagination, I find that despicable."
Wells Fargo's CEO pledged changes before the Senate Banking Committee investigating the bank's account fraud scandal, but he stopped short of saying executive pay should be clawed back, or that staffers had committed fraud.
Menendez criticized a sales culture where he said managers would be "breathing down your neck to meet sales quotas."