The Latest: Shareholders criticize Wells Fargo board members


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on Wells Fargo’s annual meeting after a scandal over the bank’s sales practices (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

Shareholders at Wells Fargo’s annual meeting are taking their speaking opportunity to criticize the company’s board of directors.

A shareholder representing the AFL-CIO has called for the board to be voted out. Another speaker at Tuesday’s meeting said there seemed to be a “culture of dishonesty” at the company and elsewhere. Chairman Stephen Sanger said the company has been held accountable and has made changes.

Two major proxy advisory firms have advised shareholders to vote out at least some of the directors. Wells’ board has advised shareholders to vote against a proposal calling for yet another internal investigation into the bank’s sales practices.

It’s the bank’s first shareholder meeting since Wells Fargo’s sales practices scandal erupted, leading to an executive shake-up, fines and a dented reputation.

10:45 a.m.

Wells Fargo’s shareholder meeting was recessed briefly after a representative of a community activist group started asking questions, was told he was out of order and was removed by security.

Bruce Marks of NACA, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, said he wanted to hear from each of the directors whether they were “complicit and incompetent” in the bank’s sales practices scandal. CEO Tim Sloan told him he was being disrespectful, while Chairman Stephen Sanger told him he was out of order.

The meeting was halted and Marks was removed by security. It’s the bank’s first shareholder meeting since Wells Fargo’s sales practices scandal erupted, leading to an executive shake-up, fines and a dented reputation.

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10:10 a.m.

The chairman of Wells Fargo’s board of directors and its CEO are apologizing to shareholders after a scandal over sales practices.

Chairman Stephen Sanger said, “We are deeply sorry,” as he addressed shareholders at the bank’s annual shareholders meeting Tuesday. And CEO Tim Sloan calls it “unacceptable.”

A big item at the meeting will be whether shareholders oust the board. Two major proxy advisory firms have advised shareholders to vote out at least some of the directors.

Regulators imposed $185 million in fines last September, saying Wells Fargo workers opened up to 2 million accounts without customer permission as employees tried to meet aggressive sales goals. The bank has changed its sales practices and apologized to customers.

12:01 a.m.

Wells Fargo’s top management and board of directors will face irritated investors for the first big shareholder meeting since the scandal over the bank’s sales practices.

The scandal led to an executive shake-up, fines and a dented reputation. Authorities said Wells Fargo workers opened up to 2 million accounts without customer permission as employees tried to meet aggressive sales goals.

It’s likely that Wells Fargo’s top management will apologize to shareholders. The big item to watch Tuesday will be whether Wells Fargo shareholders oust the board. Two major proxy advisory firms have advised shareholders to vote out at least some of the directors.

Wells Fargo’s executives are also expected to face calls for their ouster. Shareholder proposals call for an overhaul of the bank’s corporate governance.