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How Wells Fargo's regulators and employees drove out its CEO

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON April 9 (Reuters) - The day after former Wells Fargo & Co Chief Executive Tim Sloan told U.S. lawmakers he was transforming the bank’s high-pressure culture, Federal Reserve officials met privately with bank employees.

At the meeting on March 13, which has not been previously reported, Fed officials were told by four bank employees that little had changed within the bank’s culture since the scandal that engulfed Wells Fargo almost three years ago.

Among those present at the meeting was Fed Governor Lael Brainard, who is overseeing a decree requiring that Wells Fargo fix its risk management before it can resume growing, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. The employees belonged to an advocacy group, Committee For Better Banks, which confirmed the meeting.

Brainard told the group she was there to listen and get insight into the mood among Wells Fargo staff but declined to say if or how the Fed would respond, the sources said.

While regulators occasionally meet with consumer advocacy or industry groups, it is unusual for a Fed board member to meet with an individual firm’s employees. It is not clear who asked for the meeting.

Sloan abruptly departed the bank last month, making him the second CEO to leave Wells Fargo in the wake of its sales practice scandal. Sloan, who declined to comment on this story through a representative, has previously said he stepped down because he felt the external attention on him had become a distraction.

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