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Committee for Better Banks Responds to Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf’s Promise to ‘Absolutely Work on a Bill of Rights’

Committee for Better Banks

For Immediate Release: March 10, 2020

Media Contact: [email protected], 603-339-0042

Committee for Better Banks Responds to Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf’s Promise to ‘Absolutely Work on a Bill of Rights’

KILIAN COLIN, Fmr. Wells Employee: A bank workers’ bill of rights would help Wells Fargo turn the page on its systemic malfeasance of the past

NATIONWIDE — In response to today’s House Financial Services Committee hearing on Wells Fargo, where current CEO Charles Scharf delivered testimony on the future of the bank, former Wells Fargo worker and member of the Committee for Better Banks, KILIAN COLIN, released the following statement:

“Today, CEO Charles Scharf told lawmakers multiple times that the culture at Wells Fargo is ‘broken.’ Mr. Scharf pointed to a ‘flawed business model’ and ‘practices that led to bad behavior.’ It took years for Wells Fargo to admit its faults, but now it’s time for the financial giant to turn the page on its misconduct and systemic challenges, and give its front-line workers a voice on the job.

“Mr. Scharf took a first step today, to build that brighter future for Wells Fargo by committing to pursue a bank workers’ bill of rights. We can’t afford to let Wells Fargo slip back into its old habits -- we need to bring structural change to the banking industry. A bank workers’ bill of rights would protect the financial well-being of Wells Fargo customers, which Mr. Scharf addressed as a top concern amidst reform at the bank. That is what it will take to restore trust between workers, consumers, and the bank for good.”

Bank Workers Bill of Rights

At today’s hearing, Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf responded to a round of questioning by Rep. Al Green (D-TX) saying he would “absolutely work on a bill of rights.”

Rep. Green told Scharf, “You now have an opportunity to help us change, not only the culture at your bank, but to change the culture across banking… We need a bill of rights for the workers within the banks.”

Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor released a report calling for a Bank Workers’ Bill of Rights, saying that: “When bank workers feel protected and empowered, they will become a front-line force whose activities will help ensure the regulatory compliance of their employers… The time has come for us to attend to the needs of our bank workers, making them allies in the larger fight to create a sustainable and responsible financial sector.”

Background on the Committee for Better Banks at Wells Fargo:

Wells Fargo employees with the Committee for Better Banks have been demanding a response from CEO Charles Scharf about the wave of layoffs and outsourcing impacting thousands of families nationwide. Despite making over $30 billion in profit in 2018 and after $25.8 billion returned to shareholders through share buybacks and dividend increases, Wells Fargo announced last year that it would cut 26,000 positions.

In October 2019, the Department of Labor certified Trade Adjustment Assistance for laid-off workers at Wells Fargo’s Shoreview branch in Minnesota.  Following the Shoreview layoffs in August 2019, Wells Fargo announced in October its decision to layoff over 350 workers from the bank’s Concord branch in California, including many highly-skilled customer service representatives. Concord workers have also filed for Trade Adjustment Assistance as the company continues to offshore thousands of frontline employees’ jobs.

In recent weeks, Representative Cindy Axne (D-IA) has introduced a bill in response to the mass layoffs of Wells Fargo workers in Iowa that took place in 2019, the Offshoring Notification Act. The bill would require employers to tell laid-off workers whether their jobs are being replaced overseas, and ultimately expedite the process for workers to receive financial support.

Members of the Committee for Better Banks are set to testify before the House Financial Services Committee later in March.

About the Committee for Better Banks:

The Committee for Better Banks, the only independent voice for frontline bank employees, is comprised of bank workers, community and consumer advocacy groups, and labor organizations, coming together to improve conditions in the banking industry. Committee for Better Banks members include current and former employees of banks and credit unions across the country, including Wells Fargo, Santander, Bank of The West, and Bank of America.

Just last week, the coalition announced that the first bank workers in over forty years have formed a union with the Communications Workers of America -- a historic win for the banking industry.