WASHINGTON – Employee termination notices sent by Wells Fargo to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority raise new questions about the bank's knowledge of fraudulent account openings and indicate it may have taken retaliatory measures against potential whistleblowers, three Democratic senators alleged Thursday.
In a letter sent to Wells Fargo Chief Executive Tim Sloan, the lawmakers asked the bank for more details about the termination notices.
"These reports, known as Form U5s, confirm that Wells Fargo had ample information about the scope of fraudulent sales practices occurring at the bank long before" a September settlement with regulators "and they raise additional questions about Wells Fargo's response to this illegal activity," said the letter, which was signed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J.
The lawmakers said that reports given to them by Finra show that the bank filed inaccurate or incomplete reports for 200 employees who were associated with fake account openings between 2011 and 2015.
They added that Wells "may have filed inaccurate or incomplete Form U5s for fired employees and that the bank may have done so to retaliate against whistle blowers."
An incomplete or inaccurate report can negatively impact an employee's ability to get another job in the securities industry.
The senators also said that if Wells intentionally filed inaccurate termination notices to Finra "it would appear that Wells Fargo concealed key information from regulators that may have revealed the bank's misdeeds long before the September 2016 settlement."
Sloan was tapped as Wells' CEO in October after John Stumpf retired early after the backlash from the bank's settlement over the fake accounts.