Hillary Clinton, during a campaign speech in Toledo, Ohio, blasted Wells Fargo & Co. for pushing employees to commit"fraud," painting the bank as a prime example of a wider corporateculture that puts short-term shareholder gains above fair treatment of workersand consumers.
"Look at Wells Fargo — really shocking, isn't it,"the Democratic presidential candidate said. "One of the nation's biggestbanks bullying employees into committing fraud."
On Sept. 8, regulators, including the Consumer FinancialProtection Bureau, fined thebank $185 million for opening accounts under customers' nameswithout their knowledge or consent. The regulatory action has into a publicrelations nightmarefor the bank.
During her speech, Clinton said she is "so proud"of the CFPB in particular for "making sure consumers get paid back whenthey get ripped off."
She also said her administration would work to end thepractice of including private arbitration clauses in fine-print user agreementsand contracts that prevent customers from suing companies.
"We are not going to let corporations like Wells Fargouse these fine-print 'gotchas,'" Clinton said.
The CFPB has proposed a new rule that would prevent companies from includingsuch clauses in contracts. Hundreds of consumer and civil rights groups signeda comment letter praising the proposal, while several banking associations saidthe rule would create "serious financial harm" for consumers.Lawsuits enabled by the CFPB rule could cost the banking industry between $2.62billion and $5.23 billion over the next five years, the industryrepresentatives wrote.
During her speech, Clinton also pointed to marketconcentration at the state level in the health insurance industry as evidencethat antitrust enforcement needs to be stronger.
And she proposed creating an "exit tax" that wouldforce companies to give back tax breaks they received in the past if theydecide to invert, or move their corporate headquarters overseas to takeadvantage of lower tax rates. She also said she would pass the "BuffettRule," a tax policy that seeks to make effective tax rates for wealthyexecutives at least as high as rates paid by their employees.
The term refers to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman, President and CEOWarren Buffett, who has been an outspoken critic of the low effective tax ratespaid by wealthy Americans.
Clinton also called for legislation requiring nominees ofmajor political parties to release their tax returns, a dig at Republicancandidate Donald Trump, who has repeatedly refused to release his own returns.
An Oct. 1 story published by The New York Times revealedthat Trump recorded a net operating loss of $916 million in 1995, which couldhave allowed him to legally pay no federal income taxes for 18 years.
"What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in asingle year?" Clinton asked, responding to Trump's assertion during thefirst presidential debate that paying little in taxes makes him a smartbusinessman.