AFR led a coalition letter to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee ahead of their hearing titled “Holding Executives Accountable for Recent Bank Failures.” The letter calls for mandatory clawbacks of incentive-based executive compensation and gains from stock trades in cases of bank failure.
AFREF, the Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project, and Public Citizen led a letter with 22 additional signatories to the agencies tasked with implementing section 956 of Dodd-Frank. That section tasked six agencies with promulgating regulations to prevent incentive-based executive compensation that encourages “inappropriate risk” by May 2011. Almost 12 years later, we don’t have a final rule. The letter was sent to regulators ahead of congressional hearings that will examine recent bank failures.
“Wall Street banks are already expert tax-dodgers. According to Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy data, nine of the largest and most profitable U.S. banks paid an average federal tax rate of only 18.6% between 2008 and 2015–far less than the statutory rate of 35%. …Tax plans from President Trump and House Republicans would only make it easier for Wall Street to rig the tax code and avoid paying their fair share.”
“U.K. banking rules now provide for unpaid bonus awards to be canceled or reduced, or bonuses to be returned or ‘clawed back’ if misconduct is later uncovered. Adjustments in unpaid bonuses within major U.K. banks tripled to about £300 million in 2014, from £100 million in 2010… ‘On a lot of these cultural issues, it seems like the U.K. is tougher than the U.S.,’ said Marcus Stanley, policy director of Americans for Financial Reform, an independent advocacy group for effective financial regulation.”
“Alexis Goldstein of Americans for Financial Reform said Clinton’s use of the term ‘clawback’ is a good sign and that she thinks it may be an endorsement on Clinton’s part of stricter rules regarding executive pay. ‘The amount of the fine by the three regulators, which is $185 million total, should be paid for out of executive bonuses, specifically Stumpf’s and one executive, Carrie Tolstedt,’ Goldstein added.”
“[P]erhaps the most shocking aspect of this story is that no executive under whose watch it occurred has been forced to return any compensation. While over 5,000 front line, mostly customer service employees have been fired, former consumer banking chief Carrie Tolstedt, who oversaw their work, recently retired with a $125 million compensation package. It is unclear if Wells Fargo plans to take back any of this pay package. There is similarly no clear indication that Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf will have to return any of the almost $100 million in bonus pay he received for the years in which the violations were occurring.”
“How did Wells Fargo get away with it for so long? A big part of the story: Wells Fargo contract provisions blocked consumers from suing the bank in court. It’s past time to prohibit the “ripoff clauses” that prevent consumers from enforcing their most basic legal rights… The problem isn’t just that aggrieved consumers don’t have access to a remedy. Keeping cases out of court means abuses are kept out of the spotlight. That’s exactly what happened with Wells Fargo, and why the abuses could go on so long.”
“If the regulators finish the rule soon, the Wells Fargo incident will be fresh in their minds. Marcus Stanley, policy director for Americans for Financial Reform, is counting on Wells Fargo acting as a shield against bank lobbying. ‘I think it will make it more difficult,’ Stanley said. ‘What I’m hoping is that it’ll make it easier for us to lobby to make it tougher.’”
“Two top institutional shareholders in the world’s most valuable bank by market capitalisation have demanded answers over payments to Carrie Tolstedt, who headed the division where the episode took place… Brian Simmonds Marshall, policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform, said: ‘Those who are responsible for the misconduct should not be getting bonuses for costing their shareholders and their customers money.'”
““This is pretty clearly an improvement of the 2011 rule, but the 2011 rule was very weak,” said Marcus Stanley, the policy director at the advocacy organization Americans for Financial Reform. Mr. Stanley said he had hoped that banks would have to hold back pay for more than four years because big losses on bank investments can often take longer than that to materialize.”