Wells Fargo fires four executives linked to fake account scandal

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Wells Fargo announced on Tuesday the bank fired four executives linked to the scandal that erupted there over millions of accounts that were opened without customers permission, but did not say why they had been terminated.

The four executives fired Tuesday by Wells Fargo were former or current members of the banks community banking division and were involved with motivating sales employees to open fake accounts central to the scandal embroiling the company since early last year.

Wells Fargo was castigated in a U.S. Senate hearing last year for the scandal, which an internal investigation by the bank estimated involved about two million accounts opened without customer knowledge. The bank was fined $185 million, reportedly had fired about 5,300 lower-level sales people connected to the scandal and has been warned its legal fees tied to lawsuits and other investigations will likely far surpass $1 billion.

Former CEO John Stumpf retired last year because of the scandal and the bank ended its product sales goals program, but Claudia Russ Anderson, Pamela Conboy, Shelley Freeman and Matthew Raphaelson are the first senior level managers to get the axe since the fake account scheme was revealed.

“Four current or former senior managers in community banking have been terminated by the company for cause by a unanimous vote of the board,” the company said in a press release. “None of these executives will receive a bonus for 2016 and they will forfeit all of their invested equity awards and vested outstanding options.”

No specific reason was given for the board’s decision to fire the four executives, though there are clues. Freeman, the head of consumer credit solutions and former Los Angeles regional president, and Conboy, Arizona lead regional president, had reportedly been promoted for growing the practice of cross-selling banking products to customers. And Anderson has been on a six-month unpaid lead since September.

None of the four fired executives had previously been accused of wrongdoing. The bank’s board is in the midst of a company wide investigation into the accounts scandal and how it grew to be so widespread across the company. The investigation is expected to be completed by the company’s shareholders’ meeting in April.

UPI