Bank Watch

Wells Fargo: Number of customers affected by sales scandal could be bigger than thought

A Wells Fargo sign is displayed at a branch in New York in this May 6, 2012, file photo.
A Wells Fargo sign is displayed at a branch in New York in this May 6, 2012, file photo. AP

Wells Fargo said Wednesday the number of customers affected by its massive sales scandal could end up higher than previously thought, as the bank continues reviewing the matter.

In September, authorities fined the San Francisco-based bank $185 million over claims employees may have opened as many as 2.1 million accounts without customer permission. In a new disclosure included in a securities filing Wednesday, the bank said it could discover more potentially affected customers as reviews and data analysis continue.

The disclosure did not provide an estimate for how many additional customers could be found.

Wells Fargo has previously disclosed that it is conducting reviews of its sales practices going back as far as 2009. On Wednesday it said it continues “to refine our practices and methodology used to identify, prevent and remediate sales practices related matters.” That work could lead to uncovering more affected customers, but “we would not expect any incremental customer remediation costs to have a significant financial impact,” the bank said.

Revelations of the unauthorized accounts have cost CEO John Stumpf his job, sparked new federal and state probes and led to lost business for the third-largest U.S. bank, among other fallout.

Wells Fargo said Wednesday its efforts to change its practices and repair customer trust in the wake of the scandal continue.

In its latest action, announced Wednesday, Well said eight top executives, including its CEO, won’t receive cash bonuses for 2016, a move Wells said is designed to “reinforce” accountability at the bank.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts