Wells Fargo. (Photo: John Disney/ ALM)
A senior U.S. national bank inspector punished in the aftermath of the Wells Fargo sham-accounts scandal sued federal banking regulators on Tuesday for information about their investigation of him.
The examiner, Bradley Linskens, who joined the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 1993, filed the public-records lawsuit in Washington federal district court. Linskens was named a senior bank examiner last year at the OCC, the central U.S. regulatory agency for national banks.
Linskens was the examiner-in-charge of Wells Fargo, which in September agreed to pay $185 million to resolve state and federal claims that the bank opened as many as 2.1 million potentially unauthorized accounts without customer permission. Part of that deal included a $100 million settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
A lawyer for Linskens, Rani Rolston of Washington’s Alan Lescht & Associates, was not immediately reached for comment Wednesday.
Media reports cited unidentified sources who were not permitted to speak publicly about the discipline. Linskens, according to Reuters, oversaw a staff of more than 60 people.
Linskens’s lawsuit seeks “records related to communications and documents regarding plaintiff’s suspension from his job responsibilities at the OCC.” The suit also demands internal “documents and communications regarding the agency’s placement of Mr. Linskens on administrative leave or removal of his responsibilities regarding Wells Fargo.”
The lawsuit, which cites the various media reports, also seeks any communication between OCC and those news outlets.
Thomas Curry, the former OCC head, said in September the agency would conduct a review of its oversight of Wells Fargo.
“The actions the OCC took, together with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the L.A. city attorney rightfully hold the bank accountable and require necessary corrective action,” Curry told a Senate committee. “However, I believe the OCC can and must do better. To that end, I have asked my Senior Deputy Comptroller for Enterprise Governance to conduct a post mortem to identify potential gaps in our supervision. I will address any identified gaps.”
In January last year, Curry lauded Linskens when he named him senior national bank examiner. “Brad has certainly earned this honor during his 23-year career at the OCC and has greatly contributed to fulfilling our mission of ensuring the safety, soundness, and fairness of our federal banking system,” Curry said.
Keith Noreika, a Simpson Thacher & Bartlett partner, was named acting comptroller this month. Curry’s five-year term ended in April but he was still on board until the Trump administration moved to replace him.