Wells Fargo & Co. said its sales scandal is being investigated by the U.S. regulator that ensures public companies make adequate disclosures to investors.
The San Francisco-based bank disclosed the Securities and Exchange Commission probe Thursday in a regulatory filing. The SEC review adds to regulatory headaches for the bank, which has faced a barrage of criticism and calls for closer scrutiny since agreeing in September to pay $185 million over claims that employees opened as many as two million unauthorized accounts.
“The company has responded, and continues to respond, to requests” from regulators seeking information on its sales practices, the settlements and related matters, according to the filing.
Lawmakers called on the SEC, the Department of Justice and others to look more deeply at Wells Fargo amid the public furor over the customer account scandal, which forced the retirements of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf and Carrie Tolstedt, the executive who was in charge of the community banking unit.
The bank has fired 5,300 workers and said it would eliminate sales goals linked by regulators to its cross-selling strategy.
The SEC often reviews whether public companies have failed to disclose issues that are material to shareholders, which typically encompasses information that could impact their investment decisions.
Still, the SEC frequently decides against bringing enforcement cases based solely on this test.