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Wells Fargo CEO says there’s a “limited pool of Black talent to recruit from”

Charles Scharf is facing backlash for his comments.

Charles Scharf AP

The CEO of Wells Fargo is facing backlash after he made remarks saying that the choice of Black talent to recruit from is “limited.”

According to Reuters, during a 90-minute Zoom call, Charles Scharf allegedly claimed that banks can't meet their diversity goals because of the scarcity of qualified candidates. Back in June, he made the same assertion in a company-wide memo that announced diversity initiatives following the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd.

“While it might sound like an excuse, the unfortunate reality is that there is a very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from,” the memo reportedly said.

Scharf previously promised to double the number of Black employees in top positions at Wells Fargo. So far, he has added two people of color — Ather Williams, head of strategy and Lester Owens, head of operations — to the operating committee.

Not everyone was offended by his remarks during the Zoom meeting. Alex David, president of the Black/African-American Connection Team Member Network, told the outlet that he thought the meeting with Scharf was helpful. “The meeting was incredibly constructive. ... I walked away being incredibly surprised at how genuine and sincere he is,” he said.

A spokesperson for Wells Fargo told Reuters that Scharf “is committed to deep and systemic change to increase diversity and has held several forums where there has been candid conversation and unfiltered feedback.”

Wells Fargo is now the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter as people are tweeting their own experiences with trying to get hired at the renowned bank.

Twitter user @hbfromkc_ tweeted, “I personally applied for 3 positions within Wells Fargo that I was very qualified for, and got 3 denials. My name is Hannah, so I decided the 4th time to not check that I was ‘Black.’ I got an interview within 48 hours. Fuck this company.”

“Give me a break,” Twitter user @MsMuhammad16 tweeted. “My son, who had just graduated from college made an attempt to get a job at Wells Fargo. They told him he didn’t have experience, which he knew. He very politely said, the description of the position said, no experience necessary, will train.”

Other people took to Twitter to call out the banking company over claims that they previously had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to settle for racially discriminating against minority borrowers.

Journalist Jessica Pieklo tweeted, “Wells Fargo paid $175 million to settle claims it racially discriminated against borrowers by charging Black and Latino families higher rates and fees on mortgages.”

“This year Wells Fargo paid a $3 billion fine for creating millions of fake accounts using the names of real customers, hurting their credit ratings and charing them fees,” editor Jamal Thalji tweeted. “No one’s gone to jail, though. Just too talented, I guess.”

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