Wells Fargo CFO's Departure Might Not Have Been About Just Needing A Little Me-Time

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Wells Fargo CFO Howard Atkin informed people last week that he was resigning from the firm, in announcement that employees and regulators apparently did not see coming (even hours prior, senior executives were said to be "aware" of Atkins' plan). Today Chris Whalen has a theory.

Whalen, analyst at Institutional Risk Analytics and a frequent critic of the largest U.S. banks, downgraded Wells Fargo to "negative" from "neutral" in a sharply-worded four page report that was highly critical of the bank's disclosure practices. "The departure of Atkins, we are led to believe, was not merely the result of personal issues, but reflects an ongoing internal dispute within [Wells Fargo's] executive suite regarding the bank's disclosure," he writes.

Whalen then goes on to argue that Wells Fargo's "public behavior suggests significant problems in the bank's internal systems and controls as defined by the Sarbanes-Oxley law. We further understand that some officials of [Wells Fargo], increasingly uncomfortable with the bank's aggressive public disclosure regime, have reached out to regulators because of concerns regarding accounting issues."

So, there's that.

Wells Fargo Exit Tied To Disclosure [TSC via BI]

Related

Small-Time Crooks No Longer Welcome At Wells Fargo, Bank Of America

Richard Eggers knows what we're talking about. The former farm boy speaks deliberately, can’t remember the last time he got a speeding ticket, and favors suspenders, horn-rimmed glasses and plaid shirts. But the 68-year-old Vietnam veteran is still too risky for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which fired him on July 12 from his $29,795-a-year job as a customer service representative. Egger’s crime? Putting a cardboard cutout of a dime in a washing machine in Carlisle on Feb. 2, 1963. “It was a stupid stunt and I’m not real proud of it, but to fire somebody for something like this after seven good years of employment is a dirty trick when you come right down to it,” said Eggers of Des Moines. “And they’re doing this kind of thing all across the country.” Big banks have been firing low-level employees like Eggers since the issuance of new federal banking employment guidelines in May 2011 and new mortgage employment guidelines in February. The tougher standards are meant to weed out executives and mid-level bank employees guilty of transactional crimes, like identity fraud or mortgage fraud, but they are being applied across-the-board thanks to $1-million-a day fines for noncompliance...Bank of America has embarked on a similar firing binge to shed any employee convicted of a criminal offense involving dishonesty, breach of trust or money laundering, employment attorneys say. Wells Fargo fires Des Moines worker for laundromat incident 49 years ago [DMR]