Charlie Munger urges regulators to ease off Wells Fargo

NEW YORK: Charlie Munger, the longtime business partner of fellow billionaire Warren Buffett, said it is time for regulators to “let up” on Wells Fargo & Co, which will end up “better off” as it corrects a series of mistakes in how it treated banking customers.
Munger spoke at the annual meeting of Daily Journal Corp, the Los Angeles-based newspaper publisher he chairs, where he also denigrated bitcoin as “noxious poison” and urged reforms in the healthcare system.
He spoke less than two weeks after the Federal Reserve took the unprecedented step of curbing the San Francisco-based bank’s asset growth until it fixes its shortcomings.
Daily Journal typically draws little attention from investors, but CNBC broadcast the meeting on its website.
That is because the company’s star attraction is Munger, 94, who has for four decades also been vice-chairman at Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, which is Wells Fargo’s largest shareholder.
“Of course, Wells Fargo had incentive systems that were too strong in the wrong direction, and of course they were too slow in reacting properly to bad news,” but “practically everyone” makes those kinds of mistakes, Munger said.
“Wells Fargo will end up better off for having made those mistakes,” he added. “I think it’s time for regulators to let up on Wells Fargo. They’ve learned.”
The San Francisco-based bank has been beset by scandals for deceiving customers, such as by opening unauthorised accounts and forcing them to take out auto insurance they did not need. — Reuters