Drilling Wells: Many have been highly critical about the fact that Carrie Tolstedt will get a $124.6 million package of stock, options and restricted shares when she leaves the bank later this year. They argue the former consumer banking head, who stepped down from her role this summer, should be held accountable for Wells having opened more than 2 million unauthorized bank and credit card accounts for its customers between 2011 and 2014, in some cases resulting in those customers incurring fees. Observers ranging from Bernie Sanders to Sheila Bair have suggested that Wells should claw back pay from Tolstedt. Wells' misbehavior led to a $190 million penalty from regulators, but there appears to be no fallout for senior executives so far, which is fueling public outrage. Given the vitriol, some question if Chairman and Chief Executive John Stumpf, who is being called to testify before a Senate panel on the matter, can do enough damage control to keep his job. It's unclear whether Tolstedt also will testify. In Tolstedt's retirement announcement, Stumpf hailed her as "a standard-bearer of our culture" and "a champion for our customers," with no mention of the pending fine. Wells' spokespeople have said there is no connection between the retirement and subsequent regulatory settlement. The Wells case throws a harsh spotlight on the habit of "managing to the metrics" and there is some speculation that other banks might join Wells in its recent decision to suspend incentive compensation. Tolstedt has been among American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Banking for more than a decade and ranked at No. 4 in 2015. Tolstedt's successor, Mary Mack, has been listed among our Most Powerful Women in Finance for the past two years, coming in at No. 7 in 2015.
Washington Weighs In: Democratic House Financial Services Committee members Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., are using Wellsgate to oppose the Financial Choice Act, the Dodd-Frank reform bill introduced by committee chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas. Waters and Maloney say the bill would undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by taking away the ability to penalize companies like Wells Fargo for abusing consumers. Separately, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., used the Wells scandal to rally her supporters to help fight bills in Congress that seek to restructure the CFPB. "Wells Fargo proved that giant banks still think the rules don't apply to them," Warren wrote in a fundraising email. "They think they can cheat their customers, stuff their pockets with money, and still walk away."
Merger Market: Centric Bank President and CEO Patricia "Patti" Husic sees recent bank merger activity in her area as an opportunity to poach customers. "It is a constant follow-up," she told American Banker in a wide-ranging interview. "You may hear the comment, 'I'm really loyal to my bank.' One of the first things I say is, 'I appreciate and admire loyalty, but if there ever comes a day that your bank doesn't earn your loyalty then give us a try.' Just being passive and waiting for someone to come through the doors isn't going to get you a bigger share of the market." Centric is based in Harrisburg, Pa., and at least three of its competitors have sold over the past two years: Susquehanna Bancshares, Integrity Bancshares and Metro Bancorp. Husic's strategy of capitalizing on the disruption appears to be working for the $421 million-asset Centric. Its loan book grew by 30% over the past year, while fee income also rose. Husic is a repeat honoree in our Most Powerful Women in Banking rankings.
Next-Gen Business Banking: Digital banking and mobile financial management apps are commonplace for consumers these days. But banks are having to work on getting business customers who still use desktop computers and handle paper checks and cash to go mobile. Mary Burchette, a senior vice president at U.S. Bank, says the effort to win over businesses involves a lot of education. "We try to really work with them and dig into their processes," to show them how they can benefit from improved efficiency, she says.
Next-Gen Bankers: How can you make banking careers more appealing to millennials? Several bank associations are working on that question and trying new tactics to engage with the younger generation. One effort underway entails a series of online videos featuring millennial bankers like Lindsey Riley. "Younger individuals don't always understand the opportunities that arise from being in the banking world," says Riley, a business banker at Reliance Savings Bank in Altoona, Pa., "not only from the standpoint of personal and professional success, but also from the difference you and your bank can make in the community." Rileymade a career switch from teaching to banking three years ago, through the outreach of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association.
Pilot Bank in Tampa, Fla., has recruited Rita Lowman, the chief operating officer of C1 Bank in St. Petersburg, Fla., to be its COO. She will run the retail and IT divisions and oversee deposit operations.
Washington Federal in Seattle has added Erin Lantz, a former Bank of America executive, to its board. Lantz now works as the general manager of mortgages at Zillow Group.
Rumor Mill: Could Hillary Clinton tap Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg for Treasury Secretary? Politico's Morning Money reports hearing "more and more" about the possibility (early speculation held that Sandberg "probably wouldn't" leave California for that) and says "her star power and historic potential would probably blow away any opposition." Sandberg served as chief of staff to Larry Summers when he held the role in the 1990s. Separately, some are suggesting Trump would nominate PayPal co-founder and anti-Gawker crusader Peter Thiel to the Supreme Court. Washington, Silicon Valley is coming.
Listening Skills: Regardless of your position on Clinton, it's worth listening to this analysis about gender dynamics in American political campaigns. "Campaigning — a process created by men, dominated by men and until recently, limited to men — might subtly favor male traits," says Ezra Klein, Vox founder and former Washington Post columnist. "Male traits like maybe talking over listening." Looking at the Democratic nominees in this race, he adds, Bernie Sanders is a great talker and Clinton a great listener. "This time the listener won, but it felt illegitimate to a lot of people."
Fashion Statement: Media coverage of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has been fixated on her wardrobe, in a way that is wholly unlike the treatment given to her male predecessor. The Times of London even dubbed a chest-accentuating scarlet dress of hers "the boobinator" for showing off what it described as "power cleavage." But May says she isn't going to let it put a damper on her love of fashion.
One Last Thing…: Women in the White House are working together to have their voices heard in important meetings with a strategy they call "amplification," whereby women repeat key points voiced by another woman, to credit its ownership and deny men the right to claim it as their own.