Wells Fargo keeps digging itself into a bigger and more serious hole.
The Wall Street Journal discovered that some employees in a Wells Fargo unit that handles business banking improperly altered information on documents related to corporate customers. The altered information included social security numbers, addresses, and dates of birth.
Ironically enough, the incident occurred at the end of 2017 and into early 2018 as Wells Fargo was trying to meet a deadline to comply with a regulatory consent order related to the bank’s anti-money-laundering controls. The bank has reported the problem to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the behavior is currently under investigation.
This is the latest scandal in a string of misconduct at the bank. In April, Wells Fargo settled with U.S. regulators, agreeing to pay a $1 billion fine for harming customers by creating fake accounts, selling unlawful insurance products, and charging unnecessary fees.
Many were critical at the time, saying that fines don’t work to prevent misconduct. In April, University of Georgia law professor Mehrsa Baradaran wrote in a Fortune column: “When big banks behave badly, they know that the worst thing they’ll get is a fine; no one is going to end up in jail.”