The Latest: Another Wells Fargo CEO faces an angry Congress

Published: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 11:06 AM
Updated: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

The Latest on Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan's testimony before Congress (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

Some U.S. Senators questioning Wells Fargo's CEO say an auto insurance scandal is an example of how the bank's culture hasn't changed.

Wells Fargo acknowledged earlier this year that it signed up tens of thousands of auto loan customers up for insurance they did not need, and some of those customers who could not afford the auto insurance had their cars repossessed.

That came after a scandal over millions of accounts created without customer knowledge as bank employees tried to meet aggressive sales targets.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, said "it was amazing" for Wells Fargo to claim it puts customers first when people's cars were repossessed.

And Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota, expressed anger about the auto insurance scandal as well as the sales practices scandal. She said bank executives promise to look into situations and promise they care about customers. But she said, "I do not hear a level of cultural change that satisfies me today."

11 a.m.

A year later, it appears Congress remains united on at least one thing: its anger at Wells Fargo over a sales practices scandal.

Senators on both sides of the aisle expressed their continuing disappointment Tuesday as CEO Tim Sloan appeared before them, wondering whether one of the nation's largest consumer banks has truly changed its culture a year after the sales practices were exposed.

Wells Fargo has said that 3.5 million accounts were potentially opened without customers' permission between 2009 and 2016, as employees tried to meet ambitious sales targets. Sloan's predecessor, John Stumpf, testified twice in front of Congress last fall and the scandal cost him his job.

Senator Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, said, "We are irritated at Wells Fargo. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a vocal critic of Wells Fargo, called for Sloan's firing. She said, "At best you were incompetent, at worst you were complicit," in the sales practices.

1 a.m.

Wells Fargo's chief executive will face Congress saying the bank remains "deeply sorry" for its previous sales practices, and that in the year since the scandal over them exploded it has substantially changed for the better.

The prepared comments from Tim Sloan come ahead of his scheduled appearance in front of the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, about a year since his predecessor did the same and was grilled about the sales practices.

Wells Fargo has said that 3.5 million accounts were potentially opened without customers' permission between 2009 and 2016, as employees tried to meet ambitious sales targets. The scandal was the biggest in Wells Fargo's history. Sloan's predecessor, John Stumpf, testified twice in front of Congress last fall.

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VP Mike Pence ready for secret meeting with North Korea, but North backs out

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 9:05 PM

Vice President Mike Pence, and seond lady, Karen Pence are pictured just in front of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong  (back left) during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.  
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Vice President Mike Pence, and seond lady, Karen Pence are pictured just in front of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong (back left) during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence was ready for a secret meeting with North Korean officials at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, earlier this month, but the North backed out, according to news outlets.

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Pence attended the Olympics Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9 as part of a five-day trip to Asia and was seated near Kim Jong-un’s sister, but did not speak to her, creating a media sensation.

The North canceled the meeting just two hours before Pence was scheduled to meet with Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, and another North Korean state official, Kim Yong Nam, on Feb. 10 after Pence announced new sanctions against the North Korean regime during his trip and rebuked it for its nuclear program, according to the Washington Post, which was the first to report on the secret meeting.

“North Korea dangled a meeting in hopes of the vice president softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics,” the vice president’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, said in a statement, according to The Hill.

>> Related: NBC apologizes for comment about Japan, South Korea during Olympics opening ceremony

News of the secret meeting comes as relations between the communist north and democratic south seem to be thawing in recent weeks with the announcement last month from Kim Jong-un that he was sending a delegation to the Olympics. He sent his sister to lead the group.

North Korea Announces They Will Participate In 2018 Olympics

“We regret [the North Koreans'] failure to seize this opportunity," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement. "We will not apologize for American values, for calling attention to human rights abuses, or for mourning a young American’s unjust death."

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Pence said he planned to use his trip to the Olympics to prevent North Korea from using the games as a ploy for favorable propaganda on the communist regime.

VIDEO: Kim Jong Un’s Sister Arrived in South Korea for 2018 Winter Olympics

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Parents locked 4 adopted children in separate bedrooms, restricted food, bathroom use, police say

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 2:28 AM

Parents Accused of Locking Adopted Children In Rooms, Restricting Food and Bathroom Use

An Arizona couple is facing child abuse charges after police say they locked their four adopted children in separate bedrooms, restricting access to food and bathrooms.

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Alabama police officer shot, killed; suspect dead

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 4:36 AM

Mobile Police Officer Justin Billa. (Photo credit: Mobile Police Department)
Mobile Police Department
Mobile Police Officer Justin Billa. (Photo credit: Mobile Police Department)(Mobile Police Department)

An Alabama police officer who was shot Tuesday night has died, authorities say.

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Alabama Sen. Doug Jones calls arming teachers 'the dumbest idea I've ever heard'

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 2:04 AM

What You Need To Know: Doug Jones

Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) called an Alabama push to arm teachers “the dumbest idea [he had] ever heard” and “crazy.”

>> 5 things to know about Doug Jones, winner of the Alabama Senate race

Alabama’s state House is considering a bill that would allow teachers to carry firearms. State Rep. Will Ainsworth – who is sponsoring the bill – introduced it during a press conference at an Alabama elementary school. Ainsworth, a Republican, said teachers carrying guns would be required to undergo 40 hours of training before being certified to carry a gun in the classroom, AL.com reports. The state won’t pay for a teacher’s gun.

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Ainsworth said the law was about giving kids “a fighting chance.”

“The only way we can do that is to have people armed in the schools to fight back,” he said.

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But to Jones, the new law doesn’t make any sense. He told WKRG: “I think that’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. I think it’s crazy. You don’t need 40 to 50 guns in there, and it’s a cost issue. You’re going to have to train those teachers. You don’t need to arm America in order to stop this; you just need to be smart about it.”

Jones was elected to the upper chamber in December after a heated race with Republican candidate Roy Moore. The former U.S. attorney has advocated for gun control in the past while simultaneously being a Second Amendment supporter. During the Senate race, the National Rifle Association spent almost $55,000 on mailers against him. He was the first Democrat elected to a Senate seat from Alabama in over two decades.

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This isn’t the first time that pro-gun politicians have suggested arming educators, but the notion is getting another push in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting that left 17 dead. A sheriff in one of Florida’s biggest counties said his department is putting together a program to train and arm teachers. Even Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been asked about the idea, although she declined to take a stand on the issue, instead saying: “I think this is an important issue for all states to grapple with and to tackle. They clearly have the opportunity and the option to do that and there are differences in how states approach this.”

Rare reached out to Sen. Doug Jones’ office but received no comment.

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