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December 8, 2016

Here’s How Wells Fargo Proves It’s Not a Wall Street Villain

“Since Wells Fargo’s alleged crimes are so easy to understand by the public, the bank’s executives and directors are all sitting ducks to shoulder the blame for general grievances with Wall Street’s biggest banks.

“The irony, of course, is that Wells Fargo is not one of those Wall Street banks. It’s actually the type of commercial bank that America needs: Its lending supports families, communities and the real economy — creating jobs, growth and wealth. Unfortunately, that’s not going to matter much when the undifferentiated anger against “Wall Street” is so high, and many are looking for scapegoats.

“To avoid unfairly paying for the many sins of Wall Street, Wells Fargo has to make fundamental and, at times, painful changes, and it needs to do so quickly and convincingly. Wells Fargo, to its credit, has already taken some important steps, like separating the roles of CEO and chairman of the board.

“But the bank hasn’t gone far enough to deal with the gravity of the crisis engulfing and threatening the bank. To avoid the fate of the bank’s former CEO, who seemed surprised by his rapid fall, the new CEO must see this unanticipated crisis as a unique opportunity. That will require bold leadership that goes on offense to change the narrative and restore the Wells Fargo brand, while doing the right thing for customers and shareholders.

Read the full op-ed by Dennis Kelleher in American Banker here.

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