Another scandal: Wells Fargo alters corporate customers’ documents

Could have changed Social Security numbers, dates of birth

Wells Fargo finds itself in the midst of yet another scandal as a new report surfaces, showing the employees in the unit which handles the megabank's business banking illegally altered its customers’ documents.

The bank’s employees could have changed several pieces of information without its customers’ knowledge including Social Security numbers, addresses and dates of birth, sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

An article, written by Emily Glazer for WSJ, explains the bank’s wholesale unit added or altered the information for people associated with its business banking clients.

This took place from 2017 to early 2018 as the bank rushed to meet a deadline to comply with a regulatory consent order, according to the article. Employees were also rushing to get documents in order before new requirements from a regulator for disclosures related to proof of beneficial ownership of business.

From the article:

Wells Fargo became aware of the behavior in recent months from employees, the people said. After investigating, the bank discovered the behavior wasn’t an isolated incident, the people added. The bank is still investigating the matter, one of these people said.

Wells Fargo has reported the problem to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, one of its main federal regulators, the people said. That agency is probing the problem, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Wells Fargo claims no customers were negatively impacted by these actions.

“This matter involves documents used for internal purposes,” a Wells Fargo spokesman said. “No customers were negatively impacted, no data left the company and no products or services were sold as a result.”

This is only the latest in a series of scandals the bank has gone through, and faced regulators for, over the past couple years.

Last week, a federal judge ordered the bank to pay its California home mortgage consultants and private mortgage bankers a total of $97 million for a violation of labor laws.

Before that, the bank agreed to pay $480 million to shareholders to settle a fake accounts suit.

That settlement stems from actions originally taken in 2016 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the city and county of Los Angeles to fine the bank $150 million for more than 5,000 of the bank’s former employees opening as many as 2 million fake accounts in order to get sales bonuses.

And in April, the CFPB and the OCC announced a $1 billion fine for the bank, demanding that it reimburse affected borrowers.

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