Rep. Hensarling to Wells Fargo (WFC) CEO Stumpf: Today's Hearing 'Just the Beginning' - TheStreet

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Wells Fargo (WFC) - Get Report CEO John Stumpf began his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee at 10 a.m. EDT on Thursday, talking about some of the company's employees allegedly opening millions of fake accounts in order to meet the company's aggressive sales goals. 

Stumpf gave a widely criticized performance at a hearing before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and UrbanAffairs last week. 

Rep. and HFSC Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) opened today's hearing that was broadcast live by Fox Business Network by saying that the committee is committed to getting to the bottom of the scandal, and that it will be a long time before the bank can gain back the trust of its customers.  

"Let me be clear, today's hearing is just the beginning of our investigation. It is not the end," Hensarling told Stumpf. 

All of the charges against the bank will be "thoroughly investigated" and all guilty individuals will be held accountable, he said. 

Hensarling went on to note several individual cases where innocent Wells Fargo customers were hurt by having to pay fees on accounts that they never asked the bank to open. 

"We will make sure that those who were betrayed by Wells Fargo are not forgotten," he said. 

The committee will be questioning Wells Fargo executives in the upcoming weeks.

Last week Stumpf did not have enough details about the scandal to satisfy the Senate committee, so today he is expected to give more details about what the bank knew, when it knew it and what it did about it.

"We need to know exactly when and how you and other executives at Wells Fargo found out about this endemic fraud. We need to know what you directed others to do about it when you found out. We need to know today who in management is being held accountable," he told the CEO. 

But Stumpf is not the only one in the hot seat, considering the accounts scandal was uncovered by the Los Angeles Times and not regulators. This is hard to believe considering the bank claimed it fired 5,300 employees over committing such illegal practices over a five-year period, Hensarling said. 

"If the OCC had examiners on site at Wells Fargo during the time when these fraudulent accounts were opened and the CFPB was conducting regular examinations, why did it seemingly take the L.A. Times to expose the fraud?" Hensarling asked. 

"Perhaps our federal regulators deserve a pat on the back or perhaps they deserve a swift kick on the backside. We will find out which," he said. 

Shares of Wells Fargo were lower in late-morning trading on Thursday. 

(Wells Fargo is held in Jim Cramer's charitable trust Action Alerts PLUS. See all of Cramer's holdings with a free trial.)

Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Wells Fargo as a Buy with a ratings score of B. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which the team believes should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks the team covers.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: WFC

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