Wells Fargo probes gender-bias claims by female executives: Report

Scandal-ridden bank Wells Fargo is investigating complaints of gender bias in its wealth management division, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday,

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Jay Welker, president of Wells Fargo’s private bank since 2003, has allegedly made some sexist comments to female employees over the years, including that they should be at home caring for children or telling them to put their “big girl panties on,” sources told the Journal. There is also at least one formal complaint filed against him with the company’s human resources department.

A spokesperson for Wells Fargo said it values all of its team members equally and takes "seriously any allegation raised by a team member, or against a team member." The spokesperson also said that the bank ensures that concerns raised are thoroughly investigated.

After supposedly being turned down for top roles and promotions, a group of about 12 regional female managers met for a conference in June – known as “the meeting of 12” — a sign of mobilization among women executives tired of dealing with the perceived glass ceiling at Wells Fargo.

This news follows another alleged scandal that surfaced at the bank this week. On Thursday, the Journal reported that Wells Fargo fired or suspended at least a dozen employees at its investment bank – Wells Fargo Securities – over allegations these individuals doctored after-hours dinner receipts and charged it to the company in violation of etiquette.

In a statement to FOX Business, a spokesperson for the bank confirmed that they became aware certain employees were not complying with after-hours meal reimbursement policies, and are continuing to investigate the matter.

These incidents come while the bank is trying to rebrand its image, after it was revealed that employees were creating fraudulent accounts for customers without their approval. The company paid a $185 million fine in 2016 as a penalty.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced that the bank would pay a civil penalty of more than $2 billion for allegedly misrepresenting the quality of its residential mortgage-backed securities in the runup to the financial crisis.

Despite all of the bad news, Wells Fargo still has a fan in billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who told FOX Business’ Liz Claman in an interview on Thursday that while the company “had the wrong incentives initially,” he stands by his investment – a 9 percent stake at 452 million shares.