Wells Fargo is making progress regaining the trust of customers affected by last year’s regulatory settlements involving the creation of unauthorized accounts, CEO Tim Sloan said Wednesday in a streaming interview on Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit.
“I think the best thing we can do to rebuild that trust is what we do every day, and that’s to help our customers succeed,” Sloan said. “When you think about some of the things that we’re most proud about at Wells Fargo, it’s that during this period since the great recession, we’ve become the largest lender in this country.”
Sloan appeared as part of a lineup of nearly two dozen national industry executives, including Larry Fink, founder and CEO of BlackRock; Greg Clark, CEO of Symantec; and Rob Manfred, commissioner of Major League Baseball. It was Sloan’s second streaming appearance in as many months. Sloan’s Jan. 9 speech at the FinTech Ideas Festival was streamed on CNBC.com.
Sloan detailed efforts to restore confidence in Wells Fargo, including internal changes such as a new compensation plan for the retail bank, and external outreach to help customers who might have been affected.
“My primary role at the company is to rebuild trust with all of our stakeholders,” he told Yahoo Finance’s editor-in-chief Andy Serwer. “And to do that, we’ve got to make sure we make things right for our customers and our team members. We need to fix anything that needs to be fixed. We’re going about doing that, and we’re going to build a better bank.”
When Serwer asked for perspective on the regulatory settlements, Sloan noted that Wells Fargo worked last year with a third-party firm to review more than 93 million accounts, with only a fraction of those found to be unauthorized. Since September, Wells Fargo has issued refunds to affected customers and widened the scope of its internal review.
“One of the things I’m doing as CEO is making sure that something like this can never happen again,” he said. “The way to do that is to make sure we’ve got the right communications with our team members, encouraging them to raise their hand if they’re concerned about anything; making sure we’re organized correctly … also bringing in third parties to help us with reviews to make sure that we’ve opened every drawer and looked under every cover that’s possible.”
After taking on the role of CEO on Oct. 12, Sloan said he hit the ground running with a plan that would address the settlement issues at every level.
“When you think about rebuilding trust, you look at it stakeholder by stakeholder,” he said. “We have a plan in place and we’re executing that plan….We’re making a lot of changes, and I’m really proud of what the team has accomplished in terms of making things right. But also, if you look at our fourth quarter, we had another fine quarter, even in the midst of a challenging period.”