(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) began her grilling of Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan on Tuesday with some words of "genius" from her young son:
"My 13-year-old boy the other day was like, you know, why -- why say socialism or capitalism? Why not people-ism, and I thought that was genius. And in that spirit, Mr. Sloan, I want to address some of the scams that your bank launched on our people.
"You know so many people are using the words 'consumer abuses, scandals,' but if you look at the definition of scams, they're fraudulent acts, intentional fraudulent acts."
Tlaib wanted to know what Wells Fargo is doing to help the 545 people who lost their homes to foreclosure due to an underwriting software error.
"Well, the first thing we have done is we reached out to each one of them," Sloan said. "We sent them a $15,000 check, which is two-and-a-half times the standard that was set in the mortgage services settlement, and then we're asking them to come back -- come to see us. And if there was additional harm that was done to them, we'll make it right."
Tlaib said the additional harm was the damage to their credit scores, and she said the bank must tell the credit bureau of its mistake.
Sloan agreed, and said Wells Fargo has assembled a team "that's interacting with those customers" to resolve their credit score problems.
"No offense," Tlaib responded, "but I doubt it's only 545 (people affected.)"
Then she moved on -- to consumer complaints about debt collection.
Tlaib told Sloan to get back to her on whether Wells Fargo requires its debt collectors to place 375 calls per day. "How can those consumers expect to receive a good experience, but also enough time to help solve their problem?" she asked. "Go back, talk to your team, I would love the answer to that," she told Sloan.
And finally Tlaib accused Wells Fargo of discrimination in lending to minority communities, based on accusations leveled by former employees.
"Was that some sort of, like, internal memo that was going around, saying this is -- if somebody is black or Latino, this is how you approach them, with higher rates and higher--?" she asked.
"None of that's true," Sloan interjected. "And no institution in this country has done more for diverse communities than Wells Fargo," Sloan said. He started to explain the bank's "$185 billion commitment" to minority communities, but Tlaib cut him off:
Yeah, I saw that," she said. "I know, Mr. Sloan. But the data is there. And I don't think these Wells Fargo employees are--” (She stopped as the gavel came down.)
“But lastly, Madam Chairwoman, I would like -- and I didn't have time, but I would like to issue for the record this study that reveals the way racial discrimination is embedded within the structure of mortgage lending," Tlaib said as her time elapsed.