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Wells Fargo shares slip on report that employees altered customer documents in business-banking unit

Wells Fargo shares slip on report that employees altered customer documents in business-banking unit

Wells Fargo employees improperly altered or added information on documents related to corporate customers last year and early this year as it was trying to comply with a regulatory consent order over anti-money laundering controls, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The report, citing people familiar with the matter, said employees in the wholesale division added or altered the information without customers’ knowledge, including Social Security numbers, addresses and dates of birth.

The bank became aware of the behavior in recent months from employees, the Journal reported. The bank is still investigating the matter and has reported the behavior to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which is probing the issue, the newspaper said.

Shares of Wells fell 1.4 percent Thursday.

In a statement, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman said: “This matter involves documents used for internal purposes. No customers were negatively impacted, no data left the company, and no products or services were sold as a result.”

The statement also said, “We can’t comment directly on regulatory matters, but over the past several months we’ve built more robust internal processes that reinforce our values, and if we find any situations where behavior violates those values, we take swift action to correct.”

The San Francisco-based bank has been struggling to repair the damage from a fake accounts scandal that erupted two years ago. That involved employees of its retail banking division creating fake accounts in customers’ names without their knowledge to meet aggressive sales goals. Since then, problems have been unearthed in its mortgage, auto lending and wealth management divisions.

In its quarterly regulatory filing, Wells Fargo said the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Labor and state attorneys general and prosecutors are involved in investigations into its sales practices and that the matters are at varying stages.

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