Elizabeth Warren’s Most Devastating Lines to Bank CEO

Elizabeth Warren’s Most Devastating Lines to Bank CEO

A few days ago, I wrote about how Elizabeth Warren doesn’t give a shit, and why that’s a good thing for progressives. Yesterday, Elizabeth Warren proved just how good for progressives it can be when she trashed a bank CEO.

With a verbal barrage rarely seen in modern congressional proceedings, Warren eviscerated Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf. The devastation took place during a hearing on Wells Fargo’s bogus-accounts case that resulted in some 3000 terminations and a $185 million-dollar fine. Admittedly, Wells Fargo illegally created 2-million phantom bank accounts. Cenk Uygur provides the play-by-play.

Warren Calls Stumpf Gutless

“You haven’t resigned, you haven’t returned a single nickel of your personal earnings, you haven’t fired a single senior executive. Instead, evidently, your definition of accountable is push the blame to low-level employees who don’t have the money for a fancy PR firm to defend themselves. It’s gutless leadership.”

Yikes. She destroys him. Best yet, it sounds like what a regular person would want to say. The messaging in this line is perfect because it is emotional, and tells anyone who sees it, “Elizabeth Warren gets it. She’s on our side. She’s a real person”. Meanwhile, the line lists out everything Stumpf didn’t do that he should have done if he truly cared about accountability.

Stumpf Personally Gained, But Won’t Take Personal Responsibility

“Do you know how much money… your personal holdings of Wells Fargo Bank stock gained while this scam was underway? I looked it up. While this scam was going on, you personally held an average of 6.75 million shares of Wells stock. The share price during this time period went up by about $30, which comes out to more than $200 million in gains—all for you personally.”

Do the math. Stumpf could have personally paid the entire Wells Fargo Bank fine and still had $15 million left over to chill on. Just in money he made during the scam. While I wish she would have directly stated this, bringing up his personal gains puts all banking executives on the hot-seat. They now know that if they deal with Elizabeth Warren, she is going to come at them hard with facts and figures. Warren is smart for realizing that it is no longer enough to go after the banking institutions, but rather it may be more efficient to go directly at individual executives. Imagine if Social Media turned Stumpf into the next martin shkreli.

Warren Connects Wells Fargo Bank Employees to All Americans

“You squeezed your employees to the breaking point, so they would cheat customers and you could drive up the value of your stock and put hundreds of millions of dollars in your own pocket. And when it all blew up, you kept your job, you kept your multi-million dollar bonuses, and you went on television to blame thousands of $12-an-hour employees who were just trying to meet cross-sell quotas that made you rich.”

The story Warren is telling here is perfect. If a normal person like you or I messed up this bad, we’d be fired. But Mr. Stumpf faces no repercussions. In fact, he profited millions off the backs of thousands of low-wage and recently-terminated employees.  By understanding that regular folks understand the strain of a terrible boss, Warren was able to perfectly humanize the employees who were punished for the fraud, while once again pointing out Stumpf’s absolute lack of accountability.

Warren Draws a Line in the Sand

“This is about accountability. You should resign. You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on. And you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

In this line, Warren tells the CEO exactly what she thinks he should do. And it’s a powerful message. Aggressive Messaging like this is sure to send a shiver down the spine of Wall Street Bank executives, as it should. In watching the video above, I also came up with a new reason Warren not giving a shit is a good thing:

Because Warren did not work against Hillary at any point in the primary, and has since campaigned with her, Warren has created an incredibly powerful ally in Clinton, who is likely to be the next President of the United States (though polls are getting scary). With that in mind, bank executives should be especially afraid of what the next four years could hold with a Clinton-approved Elizabeth Warren making moves in the Senate. She’s brilliant, and knows how to hedge her bets. Here’s to hoping Warren continues her warpath against the banks.

Ryan Black is a content creator, marketing professional, and political consultant who writes about Progressive Politics.

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