Three high-level foreign exchange executives and a currency trader have left Wells Fargo, the bank that has been through several investigations after a scandal over millions of fake accounts and another over auto insurance practices.
Wells Fargo confirmed Friday that the employees from the investment bank side of the business were no longer with the firm but would not say if they were fired. The departures were first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which cited unidentified people familiar with the matter as saying they had been fired amid an investigation.
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The bank has been trying to move beyond problems in its consumer banking operations that have tarnished its brand. It has paid millions in fines and settlements, and investigations at the state and federal level are still pending.
Most recently Wells Fargo admitted that it sold auto insurance to hundreds of thousands of its auto loan customers when they did not need or want, causing tens of thousands of customers to fall behind on payments they could not afford and have their cars repossessed. This is on top of last year's sales practices scandal, in which Wells Fargo employees opened as many as 3.5 million bank accounts for customers without getting permission.
Wells Fargo was not among the several Wall Street banks that pleaded guilty in 2015 to charges that their currency traders manipulated the $5.3 trillion foreign exchange market in order to get better prices. Traders at banks like JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Bank of America allegedly used private chat rooms and other forums to collude, instead of trying to get the best prices for their customers.
While Wells Fargo has one of the largest consumer banking businesses in the United States and is the country's largest mortgage lender, it has a comparatively small investment bank and trading operation. Those operations were mostly inherited from Wachovia, which Wells bought in a fire sale transaction at the height of the financial crisis.