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Sen. Elizabeth Warren says Wells Fargo misdeeds were all about juicing reported profits

  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer spoke with Sen. Elizabeth Warren about recent malpractices at Wells Fargo.
  • Warren said that holding executives accountable is the only way forward.

Few lawmakers had stronger words for Wells Fargo in the continued conflict surrounding the big bank's malpractices than Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

"This is a company that, from the very top, has made it clear there's no accountability here," the Democratic senator told "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

While Wells Fargo's earnings remained intact, the bank is said to have pressured employees to open unauthorized accounts for customers, an issue that was recently found to have affected more customer accounts than previously thought.

"This is not about serving consumers," Warren said. "This is all about, quarter by quarter by quarter, how to juice the reported profits. That's what mattered at Wells Fargo."

And to Warren, the only way to prevent large corporations from misdeeds like these are to hold their top executives accountable, possibly with the help of the Federal Reserve.

"So long as there is no personal responsibility when these big companies breach consumers' trusts, let their data get stolen, cheat their consumers like they did in the case of Wells Fargo, then nothing is going to change," the senator said. "As long as they can keep collecting their paychecks and they can keep sleeping cozy at night, then we're going to have the same kind of thing going on in these big corporations where the customer is at the end of the day – and let's face it – stockholders are at the end of the day, too. It's all about the executives."

Warren recalled how ousted Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf handled the news of his bank's cross-selling malpractices in his Senate hearing.

"We had a hearing a year ago when John Stumpf, who had gone on your program, first one out of the barrel, said, 'Hey, listen, I take personal responsibility for what's gone wrong at Wells Fargo.' And then it turned out what personal responsibility meant was firing thousands of people who made $15 bucks an hour," Warren told Cramer.

In light of the recent cybersecurity breach at credit reporting firm Equifax, in which hackers gained access to 143 million customers' Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and even driver's license and credit card numbers, Warren called for policymakers to take stronger action against top executives.

Stumpf may have been fired, but many of the executives who were there while Wells Fargo employees were under pressure to meet sales quotas still have their jobs, Warren said.

"I want these big corporations to understand that when you engage in massive fraud, when you are so irresponsible with the data that belongs to consumers, when you put your customers at risk, there's going to be real responsibility for you," the senator said. "And until that happens, until people lose their jobs, until we have criminal investigations, until there's a real chance that one of these executives is going to be walked out of the office in handcuffs with people snapping pictures, then nothing's going to change on Wall Street, not in these big companies."

Watch Elizabeth Warren's full interview here:

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