Wells Fargo appoints new deputy general counsel amid mortgage retirement

Wells Fargo appoints new deputy general counsel amid mortgage retirement

Wells Fargo & Co. promoted David McDonough to assistant general counsel for retail and small business banking, the latest move in a years-long effort to reshape its legal and compliance staff.

McDonough, who was assistant general counsel, succeeds assistant general counsel Mark Metz, who is expected to retire early next year. McDonough had headed the consumer protection section of Wells Fargo’s legal department in Washington.

McDonough’s promotion comes after the financial services giant named at least two other new deputy general counsel over the past year.

Wells Fargo this week confirmed plans to scale back its massive mortgage business following a series of scandals that resulted in some legal turnover.

McDonough had left Bank of America Corp. in 2014 to join Wells Fargo as head of its Fair Lending team. His promotion to Deputy General Counsel took effect on August 1.

David Rice, a former regulatory enforcement counsel at Wells Fargo, was promoted late last year to replace Douglas Edwards as associate general counsel for the Global Commerce and securities of the bank. Rice took over before Edwards’ retirement from Wells Fargo earlier this year.

Edwards, who joined Wells Fargo more than a decade ago as part of the acquisition of Wachovia Corp. by the bank, was appointed acting general counsel in early 2020.

A Wells Fargo spokesperson confirmed the appointments, the latest in a series of personnel changes at the San Francisco-based company, which has installed attorneys in various positions of authority.

Wells Fargo hired Ellen Patterson as general counsel in March 2020, months after appointing former Mayer Brown partner and former Commerce Secretary William Daley as vice president of public affairs.

Patterson currently owns nearly $1.7 million in Wells Fargo stock, while Daley’s company holdings are valued at more than $1.4 million, according to Bloomberg data.

Neither attorney was one of Wells Fargo’s five highest-paid executives in 2021, according to an annual proxy statement. The filing was signed by Corporate Secretary Tangela Richter, who joined Wells Fargo last year from American Express Co. as assistant general counsel for corporate functions.

Wells Fargo has recruited nearly a dozen former Big Law attorneys to its ranks over the past year, some of whom were hired to make up for departures, according to data from Bloomberg Law. The new hires include senior lawyer and corporate trust expert Robert Borhart, who returned to the bank a year ago this month after a six-month stint with Ballard Spahr’s finance group.

The new faces at Wells Fargo’s legal group follow the resignation two years ago of C. Allen Parker Jr., a former president partner of Cravath, Swaine & Moore hired in 2017 to succeed the company’s longtime chief legal officer. bank, James Strother. Parker was later promoted to interim general manager, a role that earned him more than $9.6 million in total compensation before his departure.

Heidi Mason, another former assistant general counsel at Wells Fargo and head of the retail banking legal department, was appointed general counsel for mortgage giant Freddie Mac earlier this year. While at Wells Fargo, Mason worked with an outside attorney to help the company negotiate a billion-dollar settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over abusive consumer lending practices.

One Inc., a digital payments network for the insurance industry, announced on August 4 the hiring of Wells Fargo senior counsel Marcus Liner as its first-ever general counsel.

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