Wells Fargo in Trouble Again, This Time for Illegal Car Repossessions

Pressure is on Stumpf to deliver Thursday, after his performance at last week's hearing was widely viewed as falling flat with lawmakers. Additionally, Wells Fargo's board of directors said this week it will launch its own investigation of the bank's retail sales practices. A spokeswoman for Governor Bruce Rauner declined to comment on whether his office is rethinking Wells Fargo's selection.

'Fraud is fraud. Theft is theft, ' the committee head, Republican Jeb Hensarling, told Stumpf.

Stumpf reiterated his word of last week, that he was "deeply sorry". So-called "wage theft" complaints and related class action lawsuits go back to 1999, according to U.S. Senators who requested the Labor Department investigate whether the company "aggressively skirted overtime laws". The bank will email customers within an hour after an account opens, he said, and require customer signatures on all new accounts and credit cards.

"The PWC material looked at 93 million accounts that we opened over four years", Stumpf said, justifying the reason it wasn't publicly disclosed as "material" in SEC filings.

"We still don't know how many customers were harmed and how long this fraud continued", Brown said in a statement.

For example, the "Gr-eight" program pushed to increase the average number of Wells Fargo financial products that each customer held from six to eight - a daunting number, especially if your bonuses and potentially keeping your job depend on it.

But Stumpf remained on the defensive before lawmakers, saying customers' loyalty to Wells Fargo remains as strong as ever.

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In aggressive questioning, lawmakers said Stumpf should resign or even be criminally prosecuted. In addition, California, the bank's home state, suspended Wells Fargo's "most highly profitable business relationships" with the state for at least a year, including the lucrative business of underwriting certain municipal bonds. Burke said Wells Fargo has been paid more than $19 million by the city for various work since 2005. He insisted that Wells Fargo had taken actions prior to 2013 to bolster its legal compliance and maintain high ethical standards.

"You fired 5,300 people, you took 5,300 good Americans and turned them into felons with a system that you created, benefited from and drove your stock price up by bragging about your levels of new accounts", said Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif.

Republican Representative Patrick McHenry, who represents North Carolina - where Wells has a very large presence due to its purchase of Wachovia in 2008 - was particularly incensed. "If you saw the problem in one area of the business, why wouldn't you do it for the other?", he said.

Stumpf told lawmakers that Wells Fargo will eliminate sales quotas for branch staff starting October 1, three months earlier than planned. One branch manager in Arizona said she was first pressured to instruct employees to open fake accounts in 2007.

He also cited the compensation he must return.

Oregon State Treasury said on Thursday that it will press Wells Fargo & Co to make reforms in its management structure and executive compensation in light of a sales scandal that has become a major issue in Washington and on Wall Street. He also defended his dual roles as chief executive and chairman, positions that some critics have suggested should be split.

Ellison questioned Stumpf for several minutes, often calling him out when he couldn't come up with an answer.

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