Wells Fargo has been at the center of controversy since last fall, when it was revealed that bank employees opened 2 million fake accounts in order to meet sales goals. At the time, several former employees came forward to say they were retaliated against for trying to bring the issue to light.
Since then, Wells Fargo has faced congressional scrutiny and the ouster of CEO John Stumpf. The bank’s board also started an independent inquiry into the fake accounts scandal. It’s that investigation that’s turned up evidence that the whistleblowers’ retaliation claims may have merit, according to a CNN Money report.
Wells Fargo’s current CEO, Tim Sloan, said last week that the bank has reviewed reports made by its employees to a confidential ethics line over the last five years. According to CNN Money, Wells Fargo hired a third-party investigator to look into cases where employees were fired within a year of making a call to that line. Wells Fargo also looked into retaliation claims by former employees who spoke to the media about the scandal.
“A few cases out of the hundreds reviewed raised questions, and we are following up on each of them,” Sloan said.
A Wells Fargo spokesperson, asked if that meant there were signs of retaliation, told CNN Money, “Yes, that is how I would read it. … We have cause for concern. We’re going to keep looking at these cases further.”
Wells Fargo says it’s found evidence that whistleblowers faced retaliation for trying to stop illegal sales tactics within the company.