Clinton appeals to Wells Fargo customers in letter

Wells Fargo scandal explained
Wells Fargo scandal explained

Hillary Clinton has a message for Wells Fargo customers: I'll crack down on banks.

In an open letter published Tuesday, the Democratic presidential candidate wrote that she was "deeply disturbed" when regulators accused the bank of creating more than 2 million fake bank and credit card accounts.

"In America, we have faith that when we open up a checking account, we aren't opening ourselves up to being scammed," she wrote.

Clinton posted the letter on her website before Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf faced Senator Elizabeth Warren and the Senate Banking Committee, where he was expected to be grilled on the scandal.

Related: Elizabeth Warren v. Wells Fargo: Senate hearing set for September 20

Clinton pledged to defend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal watchdog agency established in 2011 after the financial crisis. Wells was ordered to pay $185 million in fines to the CFPB and other agencies for the fake accounts.

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, has said he wants to repeal Dodd-Frank, the law that led to the CFPB's creation. He has called for restoring the Glass-Steagall Act, which would break up big banks. The Republican Party platform calls Dodd-Frank a "legislative Godzilla" that is crushing smaller banks.

The Democratic platform advocates an "updated and modernized" Glass-Steagall. Clinton wrote in her open letter that she would put "additional safeguards" in place to address big banks, adding that "if any bank can't be managed effectively, it should be broken up."

Related: $124 million payday for Wells Fargo exec who led fake accounts unit

Clinton also criticized a $124 million payout that the Wells Fargo executive who headed the scandal-tainted department is set to receive when she retires this year.

"That compensation should be clawed back," Clinton wrote, adding that she wants executive compensation to "take a hit" if a company pays major fines.

In the Democratic primary campaign, Senator Bernie Sanders criticized Clinton for being too close to Wall Street and for refusing to release the transcripts of paid speeches she gave for Goldman Sachs.

CNNMoney's Matt Egan and Heather Long contributed to this story.

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