So after months and months of taking a hard look in the mirror, Wells Fargo has sifted through the results of its excruciating inventory and concluded that "Yup, that whole widespread fraud thing is still John Stumpf's fault."
Wells Fargo's independent directors have decided to initiate corporate pay clawbacks that total some of the largest in history, after concluding a six-month investigation into the beleaguered institution's retail banking sales practices, it was revealed Monday.
A board review, a copy of which was obtained by CNBC, indicated that former Wells Fargo Chairman and CEO John Stumpf acknowledged that he made significant mistakes and helped create a culture at the bank that resulted in abuses, including the creation of fake consumer accounts.
In fairness, after one reads the entire board review, it becomes clear that the real villain is Wells' former community banking head honchess Carrie Tolstedt, an executive whom Stumpf felt particularly fond of and trusted implicitly. And that is going to cost him.
On Monday the board is announcing that it has decided it is necessary to claw back an additional $28 million of pay from Stumpf, adding onto $41 million he already gave up when he resigned in October 2016. Stumpf's total pay from 2011-2016 was $286 million, according to executive compensation firm Equilar, meaning he will have forfeited 24 percent of his pay for that period since the scandal first emerged.
Tolstedt is being retroactively fired despite having "retired" last July and forced to pay back another $47.3 million. So that brings her full punishment to $66.3 million and a lifetime of niche disgrace. Stumpf will forever be the public face of post-mortgage crisis banking greed and will pay Wells Fargo back $69 million.
But Wells might not even be done with Stumpf. After all, the news cycle is not yet done with Wells Fargo and Stumpf has done such a brilliant job with the role of whipping boy that the bank's board would be crazy to recast it at this point. Why allow your new golden boy CEO Tim Sloan to get tarred with any of this shit when you can always just hold up that picture of Stumpf solemnly swearing himself into a congressional curb-stomping hearing with a literal bandage on his right hand while you murmur "This fucking guy, amirite?" to still-furious shareholders?
As long as Stumpf still has money and/or a shred of professional dignity, he will be forced to look over his shoulder every time he hears that "Wells Fargo" is trending on social media. But luckily for Stumpf, this new report doesn't leave him with many shreds of dignity...
One email in particular stands out that highlights Stumpf's unwillingness to acknowledge the scale of the problem his company faced. In an email to Sloan on May 17, 2015, after the company was notified of the filing of a lawsuit against the bank by the Los Angeles city attorney, Stumpf wrote:
"I have worked over the weekend with Carrie on the LA issue — I really feel for Carrie and her team. We do such a good job in this area. I will fight this one to the finish. Do you know only around 1% of our people lose their jobs [for] gaming the system, and about 2/3 of those are for gaming the monitoring of the system, i.e. changing phone numbers, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth on forcing products on customers. In any case, right will win and we are right. Did some do things wrong — you bet and that is called life. This is not systemic."
So yeah, we can expect Wells Fargo to dip into the "John Stumpf Did It" pool for years to come.