Wells Fargo director Elaine Chao has told the San Francisco-based bank that she will step down from the board “if and when” she is confirmed as U.S. transportation secretary, the company said in a securities filing Monday.
President-elect Donald Trump said last week that he planned to nominate Chao for the post, replacing former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. Chao, the former Labor Secretary under George W. Bush, has been on the Wells board since 2011.
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., announced Monday that he has joined 14 of his colleagues to introduce legislation, the Justice for Victims of Fraud Act of 2016, to give Wells Fargo customers who were victims of a fraudulent account scheme their day in court.
The senator said Wells Fargo is using the forced arbitration clauses it tucked away in the fine print of contracts customers signed when they opened legitimate accounts to prevent the Wells Fargo customers with fraudulently opened accounts who were harmed from joining together and taking Wells Fargo to court.
“What Wells Fargo did was outrageous,” Merkley said. “Opening millions of fraudulent accounts was a jaw-dropping betrayal of their customers’ trust, and one that had a real cost for many consumers. Whether it’s fraudulent fees or a falsely-damaged credit score, consumers should have every recourse when it comes to these violations—especially since customers never actually agreed to these contracts for accounts that were created without their knowledge. Wells Fargo should not be able to hide behind fine print and technicalities to escape their day in court.”
The halls and chambers of Congress are certainly going to look different when the 115th Congress begins its term in January.
The leadership of the House Financial Services Committee, on the other hand, will look just the same as it has in the last two Congressional terms, as Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., will again serve as the committee’s leaders.
Hensarling currently serves as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and will serve his third term in that role beginning in January.
In his time as the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, especially in his most recent term, Hensarling pushed for regulatory rollback.