The former Wells Fargo General Counsel fined $ 3.5 million in the OCC settlement
WASHINGTON – The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has fined the former Wells Fargo General Counsel in a settlement of $ 3.5 million, the agency said on Friday.
James Strother, who served as Wells Fargo’s general counsel from 2003 to 2017, will pay the US Treasury Department $ 3.5 million for his role in the bank’s infamous 2016 false accounts scandal.
The OCC met Strother and others Wells executives with civil claims last january. His $ 3.5 million settlement fine is less than the $ 5 million fine first passed by regulators at the time.
Wells Fargo has come under scrutiny over sales misconduct first reported in 2013 by the Los Angeles Times. Regulators said bank employees were pressured to meet sales targets and opened millions of bank and credit card accounts without customers’ knowledge.
According to the civil lawsuit filed by the OCC last year, the Strother-led legal department of Wells Fargo “had a responsibility to ensure that incentive compensation plans were designed and operated in accordance with bank policies, risks were assessed and that they were appropriately managed.” The department failed to “appropriately” [perform] their responsibility regarding the problem of misconduct in sales practices, ”the OCC complaint reads.
While Strother is not excluded from banking, he must provide a copy of the OCC order to the president or CEO of any bank he is or will be affiliated with, according to an OCC legal filing.
Strother also agreed to “cooperate with the OCC in investigations, litigation or administrative proceedings related to misconduct related to sales practices at the bank,” the agency said in a press release.