Wells Fargo warns more customers may have been affected by bogus-accounts scandal

As Wells Fargo digs deeper into the bogus-accounts scandal that shook it last year, it warned investors that there could be more such accounts. The lender added in a separate communication that US authorities were examining whether other firms abused its technology to violate international sanctions.

The bank had widened the scope of a review into how employees approached customers with accounts and other products, over a broader time frame.

The San Francisco, California-based bank had also refined its methodology to identify any improper sales, the company said in an annual regulatory filing. ''This work could lead to, among other things, an increase in the identified number of potentially impacted customers,'' it said.

According to the lender's earlier estimates up to 2.1 million customers might have had checking and credit-card accounts opened in their names without their permission over a period of several years (See: Wells Fargo fined $185 mn for opening millions of unauthorised accounts).

The expanded review could uncover "an increase in the identified number of potentially impacted customers," Wells Fargo said.

The search for unauthorised accounts would cover a  broader time frame, from 2009 to September 2016. According to Well Fargo's annual 10-K filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, an ongoing analysis of customer data might also turn up more affected customers.

In a separate filing Wells Fargo said it expected to release findings of the review ahead of its annual meeting on 25 April.

Meanwhile, Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan and seven other top executives would forego cash bonuses for 2016, the bank said yesterday as it launched another effort to stress corporate accountability in the wake of the scandal.

Further, top bosses at the firm would see a 50-per cent reduction in the performance share equity awards they received in 2014 and that vested last year, the bank announced before the US financial markets opened.

The decision would cover positions ranging from chief financial officer to general counsel and chief risk officer and would produce a roughly $32 million aggregate cut in compensation, on the basis of 2016 target bonuses and the current value of Wells Fargo shares, the bank said.