While the recent congressional hearing targeting John Stumpf, in which Elizabeth Warren suggested he should resign and be criminally charged, was nothing more than a "kangaroo court" meant to refocus public anger on banks, with good reason, the reason why we concluded that nothing would actually change is that ultimately there was no evidence the bank's executive management was aware of the bank's illegal, fraudulent tactics involving the creation of some 2 million fake customer accounts to "sandbag" retail banking fees. That assumption, however, may need revision now that CNN reportsthat it has heard from former Wells Fargo workers - some of whom were named - around the country, who tried to put a stop to the bank's illegal tactics only to be met with harsh, prompt and severe retaliation by the bank.
"Almost half a dozen workers who spoke with us say they paid dearly for trying to do the right thing: they were fired", CNN says, which if confirmed would promptly make this a criminal case, which implicate virtually every senior management member, as such retaliatory practices would suggest not only awareness of what was happening at the bank, but also an even more dramatic response by management seeking to keep these practices under wraps.
Some of the named witnesses made it very clear that the narrative spun by Stumpf in Senate was a lie:
"I endured harsh bullying ... defamation of character, and eventually being pinned for something I didn't do," said Heather Brock, who was fired earlier this month as a senior business banker at a Wells Fargo branch in Round Rock, Texas.
"They ruined my life," Bill Bado, a former Wells Fargo banker in Pennsylvania, told CNNMoney.
Bado not only refused orders to open phony bank and credit accounts. The New Jersey man called an ethics hotline and sent an email to human resources in September 2013, flagging unethical sales activities he was being instructed to do. Eight days after that email, a copy of which CNNMoney obtained, Bado was terminated. The stated reason? Tardiness.