The Securities and Exchange Commission has joined the Department of Justice in investigating Wells Fargo’s diversity hiring practices.
Both agencies "have undertaken formal or informal inquiries or investigations regarding the company's hiring practices related to diversity," the company disclosed in an SEC filing on Monday.
Wells Fargo did not return a request for further comment.
The investigations were prompted by a May New York Times article alleging that a bank policy requiring managers to interview a diverse group of people for some jobs led to a series of fake interviews of women and non-white candidates for positions that were no longer open.
The bank halted the policy after the Times’ piece, and reinstated it in August with some updates: Half of the candidates for certain positions will continue to be diverse, but the policy now applies to roles based on job level rather than compensation. The previous version of the policy mandated that diverse individuals make up half of all candidates for positions salaried at $100,000 or more a year.
“We are recommitting to our diverse candidate slate guidelines with changes that will help clarify and simplify the process and lead to a better experience for all candidates, internal and external,” Wells Fargo Chief Human Resources Officer Bei Ling said at the time. “Wells Fargo has seen measurable increases in diverse representation over the past several years, and we believe that diverse candidate slate guidelines have been one of the many contributing factors. Our review helped us to identify opportunities where we can further improve how the guidelines are implemented.”
An SEC spokesperson told Banking Dive via email that the “SEC does not comment on the existence or nonexistence of a possible investigation.”
In the SEC filing, Wells Fargo also announced that it would settle a number of matters with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The matters include cases involving automobile lending, consumer-deposit accounts and mortgage lending, according to the regulatory filing.
The settlements will likely come from $2 billion the bank set aside last quarter to deal with “historical” regulatory matters.
“There can be no assurance as to the outcome of these discussions,” the bank said in the filing.
The CFPB also declined to comment.