Receiving Wide Coverage ...
More trouble for Wells: The California Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into Wells Fargo to determine if bank employees engaged in criminal identity theft and false impersonation to open accounts for customers without their permission. "There is probable cause to believe that employees of Wells Fargo Bank unlawfully accessed the bank's computer system to obtain the PII [personally identifiable information] of customers," the state's affidavit said. "The bank's employees then used the unlawfully obtained customers' PII to commit false impersonation and identity theft by opening unauthorized accounts, credit cards, and various other products that resulted in the accumulation of fees and charges for Wells Fargo."
The Wall Street Journal profiles Mary Mack, the new head of retail banking at Wells Fargo, which just may be "the hardest job in banking today," the paper says. "Ms. Mack must change the sales culture at the scandal-scarred firm," it says. "To do so, she will have to figure out how to incentivize employees without spurring the kind of improper behavior that led to the bank's $185 million fine, regulatory enforcement action and abrupt retirement of Chief Executive John Stumpf."
"There are clearly things as a company that we've got to work on," said Mack, a 32-year Wells veteran who previously ran the bank's brokerage operation. "I really want to make sure we get this right." Wells recently stopped calling it's branches "stores," which emphasizes sales over service, American Banker reports.
Wells sold $3.5 billion of bonds on Wednesday but appeared to pay no rate penalty. The 10-year bonds were priced to yield 3.027%, 1.3 percentage points above comparable Treasury securities, about where traders expected.
Amex optimistic: American Express reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the third quarter and raised its earnings guidance for 2017. The company reported earnings of $1.14 billion, or $1.20 a share, down from $1.27 billion, or $1.24 a share, a year earlier, but ahead of estimates. Revenue fell 5.1% to $7.78 billion. For next year, Amex said it now expects earnings, excluding restructuring charges, of $5.90 to $6 a share, up from its previous estimate of $5.40 to $5.70. "There is clearly still a lot of work to do, but we are pleased with our results through the third quarter," CFO Jeffrey Campbell said. Shares rose in after-hours trading. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, American Banker
Wall Street Journal
Citi compliance chief leaves: Citigroup's chief compliance officer, John Davidson, announced his retirement after three years in the position and about eight years at the bank. Davidson joined Citigroup in 2008 as chief administrative officer for risk management and five years later became chief compliance officer. Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat praised Davidson for helping guide the bank through the financial crisis and standardizing risk programs throughout the bank.
New York Times
Want a loan with that?: Marketplace lender Social Finance certainly stretches marketing boundaries when it comes to attracting prospective borrowers. In addition to providing career counseling, wine tastings and home-buying workshops, it recently began holding singles dating events, complete with free drinks. "This approach is helping elevate SoFi with potential customers and investors in a business — online lending — that has had no shortage of trouble over the past year," the Times reports. SoFi, which initially dealt only in student loan refinances, is moving into other types of loans, including mortgages, and other financial products, such as insurance. It's also looking to expand into Europe and Asia.