The scandal over improper sales practices at Wells Fargo & Co extended to thousands of small-business owners, according to a U.S. lawmaker, raising questions about the scope the bank’s issues with unauthorized accounts. Discussions between congressional staffers and Wells Fargo “have indicated that the fraudulent activity of your employees was not limited to Wells Fargo’s consumer banking operations,” Vitter wrote. “Thousands of small business owners were impacted by this fraud.” A person familiar with Vitter’s probe say Wells has identified about 10,000 small business accounts that were subject to improper practices. Vitter spokeswoman Cheyenne Klotz declined to comment on specifics about those practices. Revelations of Wells Fargo’s problems with small-business customers come almost a month after it reached a $190 million settlement over opening as many as 2 million accounts in retail customers’ names without their knowledge. The bank has said it fired about 5,300 employees for improperly opening the accounts.
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