On the Call: Wells Fargo CFO Howard Atkins

AP News
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Posted: Oct 20, 2010 12:23 PM
On the Call: Wells Fargo CFO Howard Atkins

Like other large mortgage lenders, Wells Fargo & Co., has come under increased scrutiny over the ongoing foreclosure mess. Rivals Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have stopped many of their foreclosure proceedings because of evidence that thousands of documents were improperly handled.

However, Wells has resisted calls to join other banks in suspending foreclosures, and reaffirmed that stance in a conference call with analysts to discuss the company's earnings.

In the conference call, Wells Fargo's CEO John Stumpf, talked specifically about reports in the media citing testimony from the bank's employees that they signed hundreds of foreclosure documents without reading them, a practice known as "robo-signing."

QUESTION: There have been a couple of instances detailed in the press of Wells Fargo robo-signing. And there is a great deal of speculation that at some point you guys are going to cave and we are going to find out all this bad stuff about your foreclosure procedures. Could you just comment on that?

RESPONSE: Yes, you might be talking about the one that was in the press regarding Washington State. In that case the judge actually found in our favor and that we had done things properly. I don't know how other companies do it, but in our company the affidavit signer and reviewer are the same team member. .... And if we find an error we will fix it. ... Humans do make errors, but that is what our process is. One reviewer, one signer, same person.