Published: Wed, April 26, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

Wells Fargo investors expected to re-elect board but show discontent; stock rises

The Wells Fargo board narrowly survived a shareholder revolt after nearly half of the votes cast at the bank's shareholder meeting on Tuesday went against the reelection of some of its board directors.

Irate Wells Fargo shareholders made their voice heard quite literally at the company's annual meeting on Tuesday.

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) today announced a quarterly common stock dividend of $0.38 per share.

Stephen Sanger, the bank's chairman, tried to get Marks to sit down and wait until a specific Q&A session, telling him he was "out of order".

Sloan attempted to resume the meeting with the presentation of an array of proposals, including the election of board members and a demand for a comprehensive report regarding the retail banking practices and high-pressure sales tactics that led directly to the opening of up to 2.1 million accounts without the authorization of customers.

Minutes after the break, decorum was broken again by another angry shareholder who screamed at the board out of turn.

"We know that these issues are not what you expect of us", said Sanger, who apologized and outlined the bank's recent overhaul of its sales practices, employee compensation system, and other reforms prompted by the scandal.

As a result, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Federal Reserve Board said Monday that restrictions have been lifted on the bank's ability to grow. The head of the bank's risk committee, Enrique Hernandez, received the lowest majority, 53%.

Clayton said CtW was satisfied with Wells Fargo's move to terminate a large quantity of pay that had initially been received by the big bank's executives. Sanger acknowledged that Wells Fargo "violated trust" of its customers and employees.

For his part, Sanger acknowledged that Wells Fargo shareholders "have sent the entire board a message of dissatisfaction" with their votes. Usually, incumbent board members receive a much higher percentage of votes. Retail banking giant Wells Fargo has fixed problems in its 2015 bankruptcy plan and will now be allowed to open new global branches, USA banking regulators said yesterday. Two major proxy advisory firms have advised shareholders to vote out at least some of the directors.

Another Wells Fargo shareholder later disputed that claim, saying Marks never approached the board. It is clear from the size of the no votes, that other institutional holders voted against the board. Compare that to the average for board members elected at all S&P 500 companies.

After investors had time to speak, Sloan and Sanger opened the floor to a general audience Q&A.

"It is time that we hold those that financially back those who oppress the Indigenous People of the world accountable", said Krystal Two Bulls, Oglala Lakota, Northern/Cheyenne, with the NoDAPL Global Solidarity Campaign.

In addition to the day of action, Forgo Wells is circulating a petition that, Bhatti explained, "calls on the bank to divest from Dakota Access Pipeline, to stop investing in private prisons and immigration detention centers, to stop funding the payday lending industry, to stop its tremendous lobbying that it's doing to try to influence our politics, to stop its predatory foreclosure practices, and a number of other demands that we raise". But the public firestorm that hammered its shares previous year and led to the resignation of then-Chairman and Chief Executive John Stumpf was not forgotten.

"The Wells Fargo board has suffered under mushroom management".

Wells Fargo shareholders also approved KPMG's role as the bank's independent auditor, despite concerns over the firm's handling of the scandal and its oversight leading up to it. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, a fierce critic of Wall Street, and Sen.

"From a business perspective that may be the best response you could make", she said.

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