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House Investigators: Obama's CFPB 'Stonewalling' on Wells Fargo Debacle

House Investigators: Obama's CFPB 'Stonewalling' on Wells Fargo Debacle

House Financial Services Committee chairman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas (AP)

By    |   Thursday, 22 September 2016 09:32 AM

As investigators probed the Wells Fargo debacle, the House committee chair in charge has accused the CFPB, Obama's consumer protection overseer, of stonewalling efforts.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said the administration “was not cooperating” with his panel’s investigation of Wells Fargo’s creating as many as 2 million fee-generating bank accounts without consumers’ knowledge.

“I am shocked to find we are getting more cooperation from Wells Fargo than the federal government on what took place, what clearly appears to be fraud and theft,” Hensarling told Newsmax.

Hensarling singled out the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's lack of cooperation. “This is not unusual because they are the single most unaccountable and powerful agency in the history of the Republic. They have a history of not cooperating,” Hensarling said of the agency created under President Obama in his first term.

Hensarling is scheduled to commence hearings on what is being dubbed the biggest case of financial fraud since Bernie Madoff’s notorious swindles a decade ago.

When revelations of the “phantom accounts” exploded into the news two weeks ago, reported the Financial Times, the scandal “wiped about $18 billion off the bank’s market capitalization.” Regulators slapped fines of roughly $185 billion on Wells Fargo.

Referring to the consent decree under which the fines were paid, Hensarling asked why did the CFPB “basically waive all the other possible infractions of the law? There could have been violations of the Truth in Lending Act, Truth in Savings Act, and Electronic Funds Transfer Act.

Strongly hinting that delays and inaction on the part of the CFPB would be an important part of his committee’s upcoming hearings, Hensarling said “there is a long list of consumer protection laws that, seemingly, CFPB simply waived and we’re trying to get to the bottom of this.”

On Tuesday, the Senate Banking Committee had its turn at the Wells Fargo scandal. The San Francisco bank’s embattled chairman John Stumpf faced some harsh questioning and dressing-down from committee Democrats. Ranking Democratic member Sherrod Brown  flatly told Stumpf: “This was fraud, fraud that you did not find or fix quickly enough.”

Stumpf faced even stronger language from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who told him: “You should resign. You should give back the money that you gained while this scam was going on, and you should be criminally investigated.”

That the “phantom accounts” scandal could go on so many years, Hensarling added, “with so many terminated employees and without someone up the food change either tacitly approving it or turning a blind eye to it — we need to know how and why that happened. But we also need to know how and why the regulators who are charged with ferreting this out — why did it take such a long time? I don’t understand that and the American people deserve some answers from both Wells Fargo and their government.”

 

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As investigators probed the Wells Fargo debacle, the House committee chair in charge has accused the CFPB, Obama's consumer protection overseer, of stonewalling efforts.
wells fargo, hensarling, cfpb
479
2016-32-22
Thursday, 22 September 2016 09:32 AM
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