Wells Fargo’s business practices and controls have again fallen under criticism after it was revealed that employees in the bank’s commercial division improperly altered and added information to commercial customer accounts in a rush to meet a regulatory deadline.
According to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story,
The employees in Wells Fargo’s so-called wholesale unit, which is separate from its retail bank, added or altered information without customers’ knowledge, according to the people familiar with the matter. The information added varied from social security numbers to addresses to dates of birth for people associated with business-banking clients, the people said.
The alleged activity occurred in 2017 and early 2018 as Wells Fargo’s “wholesale” division was trying to meet a June 30, 2018, deadline to comply with a regulatory consent order stemming from the bank’s controls to prevent money laundering. The 2015 anti-money-laundering controls were imposed on the bank by federal regulators for its compliance failures. The process involved completing customer profiles on about 100,000 small firm accounts with assets between $5 million and $20 million.
Wells Fargo refused to comment on the unlawful activity, which it reported to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, to the Wall Street Journal, saying it doesn’t comment on “regulatory matters.”
A Wells Fargo spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that the activity was an internal issue and didn’t impact customers, but it’s the latest example of the bank’s refusal to play by the rules.
The news comes as Wells Fargo continues to move on from the fallout of a scandal that involved bank managers encouraging bank employees to open bogus deposit and credit accounts for customers without their authorization or consent and then charge fees and interest for the 3.5 million fraudulent accounts.
The bank has also been embroiled in fraud scandals in its mortgage, auto lending, and wealth management divisions.