Wells Fargo Scandal: Employees Were Warned about Upcoming Reviews
A new report from The Wall Street Journal reveals why the Wells Fargo scandal took so long to come to light. According to more than a dozen current and former employees at Wells Fargo, many of the workers associated with the scandal received notice about upcoming reviews at least 24 hours in advance, giving them enough time to cover their tracks.
Many of the bank employees who were interviewed said they were asked to shred documents or forge signatures for their colleagues as part of the fake account creation. One worker said the process “became pretty normal,” to the point that he “became numb to it.” In order to get the fake accounts authorized, associates would often use signatures they already had on file for the customers or they would use signature cards that had not yet been approved.
The 24-hour notice is designed to allow branch managers to staff their locations properly before the reviewers arrive. After the scandal became public knowledge last September, Wells Fargo has invested millions of dollars to increase security, including a boost in bank branch audits and more than 100 “Conduct Risk Reviews” that do not come with advanced notice.
The bank has continued to see a decline in new account openings since the fake accounts were discovered. Credit card applications were down 43% in the last quarter of 2016 compared to the same time period in 2015. New checking account openings dropped by 40% year-over-year.