Wells Fargo Fallout: New York Governor Puts FIs on Notice
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo put state-chartered banks and credit unions on official notice to ensure employee incentive arrangements do not spawn another Wells Fargo fraud fiasco.
Cuomo announced last week the New York State Department of Financial Services has issued new guidance directing all state regulated financial institutions to ensure any employee incentive arrangements do not encourage inappropriate corporate practices.
“The inappropriate behavior we have seen at institutions like Wells Fargo are the same ones that led to the 2007 financial crisis and there must be zero tolerance for reckless policies that foster greed and put New Yorkers' financial futures at risk,” Gov. Cuomo said. “State-chartered banks are now on notice of their obligations, and it is their responsibility to ensure their employees are acting in the best interests of their customers.”
This precautionary measure, as the governor called it, follows a record $100 million fine and other penalties levied against Wells Fargo Bank by the federal government for programs that encouraged employees to boost sales figures by engaging in this type of behavior.
“We agree with the DFS that incentive-based compensation arrangements that encourage inappropriate corporate behavior should have no place in our banking system,” RJ Tamburri, communications director for the New York State Credit Union Association, said. “But the bottom line is, credit unions don’t engage in the kinds of rapacious banking practices that the DFS is trying to stamp out with this guidance.”
The New York association is also concerned that credit unions are once again being regulated in the same manner as institutions that actually engage in these types of practices.
“Every time a mandate like this is imposed on New York credit unions, it makes it that much more difficult to maintain a viable state charter,” Tamburri said.
Specifically, all regulated banking institutions have been advised that no incentive compensation may be tied to employee performance indicators without effective risk management, oversight and control.
These directives will apply to New York's 17 state-chartered credit unions. There are more than 350 federal credit unions in the Empire State. The new directives also apply to 121 state-chartered commercial banks, savings banks, bank holding companies, 88 foreign branches, 14 foreign agencies and 35 representative offices.
Other governors have taken different steps to address the Wells Fargo fraud.
On Friday, for example, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he is barring Wells Fargo from participating in future state debt offerings and financial services contracts initiated by state agencies under his authority. He also said he will seek to exclude Wells Fargo from participating in debt offerings initiated by the Ohio Public Facilities Commission.
Kasich’s announcement follows similar decisions by leaders in California, Illinois, Chicago and Seattle, who announced earlier this month they had banned the San Francisco-based bank from doing business with their state and city governments.