Bank Regulation

For Wells Fargo CEO, (A Lot Of) Scrutiny Ahead

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo has been under the proverbial microscope — and now, even more, so will its CEO.

The scandal-scarred bank is on the lookout for its next chief executive, with Tim Sloan having departed roughly two months ago. At the moment, C. Allen Parker is interim head of the company.

But as Reuters reports, when the next CEO takes the reins, he or she will be required to do everything from submit fingerprints to offer up tax documents, and will generally face a “vetting process that could rival that of top government officials.”

That vetting process would be put in motion by powers granted to the Comptroller of the Currency, Joseph Otting, who said last week he would use a rather obscure law that would allow scrutiny of the CEO candidate. The law traces its genesis to the late 1980s savings and loan crisis, and lets regulators oversee the candidate selection process, granting those same regulators veto power, too. The newswire said the law is designed to cover financially troubled firms (Wells Fargo is the nation’s fourth largest lender and also is not seen as financially troubled).

Among the documentation that needs to be in place: a 17-page disclosure of work history, finances and other information; tax records and a possible background check.

As noted to the newswire by Isaac Boltansky, director of policy research at Compass Point Research & Trading, “finding a new CEO was going to be difficult before, but this has made it even harder. The difficulty was upped to 10.”

The vetting investigation could be expanded to include findings by the FBI, anti-money laundering officials and whether or not the nominee had been involved with failed firms.

The screening process could take up to 90 days.

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