"The problem is many media stories on this subject have been deliberately misleading. These one-sided stories lead you to believe every employee recognition event is a junket, a boondoggle, a waste or that it's for highly paid executives. Nonsense!" Stumpf wrote in full-page advertisements in The New York Times and The Washington Post Sunday.
Stumpf, a 24-year veteran of the company, said Wells Fargo was canceling all its major annual recognition events -- a move, he argued, that would hurt everyone from bank tellers to credit analysts to the hospitality industry that services the events.
Unlike CEOs of the other major banks, Stumpf, who received a $4.2 million bonus in 2007, has not said whether he will forgo his 2008 bonus. A Wells Fargo representative said the bank's board of directors would vote on bonuses at the end of this month.
Wells Fargo touted its use of TARP funds last week, announcing that it was paying the United States a total quarterly dividend of $371.5 million on its $25 billion TARP investment. The bank said that since receiving TARP money, it has committed more than $70 million to mortgages and other loans.
Not all is well at Wells, however. Wells Fargo appeared to have scored a coup when it beat out rival Citigroup to purchase Wachovia bank in October, but the $2.8 billion losses related to the Wachovia purchase that Wells reported late last year far exceeded what analysts were expecting.
Compensation: Pandit became Citigroup's chief in late 2007. He received $44.4 million in stock awards in January, 2008.
Citigroup TARP Funding: $45 billion
One thing is for sure: Pandit did not arrive in Washington for today's hearings aboard a new corporate jet.
The Citigroup CEO came under particularly harsh criticism from lawmakers who have routinely chastised bank executives for bonuses and other corporate perks rather than programs to help Americans burdened by the credit crunch.
Citigroup last month reversed a decision to buy a $50 million corporate jet under pressure from the government.
In the fall, the federal government bailed out Citigroup as the world's largest bank facing bankruptcy.
The bank received $45 billion as part of the federal bailout and has said it plans to lend $36.4 billion to consumers and companies, as well as fund U.S. mortgage loans.
Pandit, 52, said in a recent report in which the bank outlined how it planned to spend TARP money that Citigroup had an "an obligation to repay in ways that go well beyond the $3.41 billion Citigroup will pay the government each year in dividends associated with its TARP investment, and a separate loss-sharing agreement."
According to draft testimony published by Bloomberg News Tuesday, Pandit plans to tell Congress that he has "removed people responsible for Citi's financial distress" and installed new risk-management controls.
In the draft Pandit said that he plans to "make this a profitable investment for the American people" and that the bank will support "American businesses and helping families stay in their homes."
Pandit was named CEO in December 2007, the preferred choice of then-interim chairman Robert Rubin, who currently serves in the Obama administration as an economic adviser.
Though his compensation exceeded $40 million in 2007, Pandit, like many of the CEOs whose firms received an emergency bailout, forwent a bonus in 2008.