Wells Fargo’s longtime chief risk officer is retiring, the company said Wednesday.

Michael Loughlin’s departure is the latest in a string of exits by Wells executives who held key posts during a time when as many as 3.5 million customer accounts were opened without their authorization.

But a company spokeswoman said that Loughlin’s retirement at age 62 is unrelated to the sales scandal.

“Mike has had a long career at Wells Fargo. He’s been here for 36 years, and this is a personal decision,” said spokeswoman Richele Messick.

Wells Fargo signage is displayed on the exterior of a bank branch in Dallas.
Wells Fargo signage is displayed on the exterior of a bank branch in Dallas. Bloomberg News

The San Francisco bank said that it expects to name Loughlin’s successor in the next few months following a search that includes both internal and external candidates. Loughlin will continue to serve as chief risk officer until later this year, in order to ensure a smooth transition.

Loughlin was hired in 1982 by Wells Fargo predecessor Crocker National Bank. After stints in Wells Fargo’s corporate banking and wealth management units, he was named chief credit officer in 2006. Four years later, he became chief risk officer.

On Wednesday, Wells CEO Tim Sloan praised Loughlin for his role in guiding the bank through the biggest U.S. banking crisis since the Great Depression.

“From the financial crisis in 2008, to the company’s merger with Wachovia, to the many economic and credit cycles we have navigated, Mike has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to all our stakeholders, especially our customers,” Sloan said in a press release.

Wells won plaudits for its deft navigation of the financial crisis, but the bank later saw its reputation tarnished by revelations regarding widespread employee misconduct inside its branches. Last year, Loughlin faced scrutiny in a 110-page report that a committee of Wells Fargo’s board wrote about the sales scandal.

The board’s postmortem detailed efforts by Carrie Tolstedt, the head of retail banking who left the company two months before Wells was hit with a $185 million fine, to keep Loughlin out of the loop regarding the improprieties. The report also found that Loughlin had limited authority with respect to the retail banking division.

“As events were unfolding, his visibility into risk issues at the community bank was hampered by his dependence on its group risk officer, and he was essentially confined to attempting to cajole and persuade Tolstedt and the community bank to be more responsive to sale practice-related risks,” the report stated.

In the wake of the scandal, risk management duties that had been housed inside of different business units at Wells Fargo are being consolidated.

The bank continues to face regulatory scrutiny over a range of alleged improprieties that have emerged in the wake of sales scandal. Wells Fargo said Friday that it is setting aside an additional $3.25 billion to cover a variety of litigation matters.

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Kevin Wack

Kevin Wack

Kevin Wack is a California-based reporter for American Banker who covers the U.S. consumer finance industry.