Wells Fargo has revealed that it is firing around three dozen district managers due to the retail banking scandal that happened more than two years ago.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reported that senior executives, including consumer banking head Mary Mack, have briefed the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on the firings. A Wells Fargo spokeswoman — as well as an OCC spokesman — declined to comment on the report.
The firings are the result of a scandal that started in 2016, when investigations revealed that employees trying to meet sales targets opened about 2.1 million fake accounts, which were often created without the consent or knowledge of customers. An investigation discovered another 1.4 million fake accounts. Earlier this year, the bank was hit by another scandal involving its wealth management business, opening up more investigations by federal regulators.
Since the fake account scandal came to light, Wells Fargo has struggled to convince regulators that it can successfully find and prevent problems that can harm its customers. In February, the Federal Reserve imposed an unprecedented cap on the bank’s growth, while just last month, the OCC sent a “regulatory warning” about the bank’s “ technology operations.” Sources explained that this type of notice “often precedes an enforcement action.”
And in October, Wells Fargo said that its chief administrative officer Hope Hardison and chief auditor David Julian were being placed on leaves of absence and will no longer be members of its operating committee.
As for the bank’s district managers, they usually oversee anywhere from five to 15 retail bank branches, depending on the area. In recent weeks, sources say that Wells Fargo’s lawyers have questioned dozens of the managers about activities or documents related to sales practices. In addition, some of the managers were asked about human resources complaints that the bank has already investigated.