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.
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.
— Associated Press
TRUMP NARROWING FED CHOICES
President Donald Trump is signaling that he is considering dual nominations for the Federal Reserve’s top two jobs.
Trump may appoint Jerome Powell, a member of the Fed’s board, potentially as chairman, and John Taylor, a Stanford University economist, as vice chairman, according to an interview with Trump that Fox Business outlined on its website Friday.
Asked about that possibility, Trump said, according to Fox Business: “It is in my thinking, and I have a couple of others things in my thinking but I like talent and they’re both very talented people. It’s a hard decision.”
The interview is to air Sunday.
Speculation about Trump’s choice has intensified amid reports that he is leaning against offering a second term to Janet Yellen, whose term as chair ends in February.
UNEMPLOYMENT RISES IN SIX STATES
Employers cut jobs in six U.S. states last month, particularly in hurricane-hit Florida, while hiring increased in five and was mostly unchanged in 39 states.
The Labor Department said Friday that Florida lost 127,000 jobs last month, mostly in hotels, restaurants and in construction, after Hurricane Irma flooded much of the state. Texas lost 7,300 jobs, mostly because of Harvey. Most of those job losses will prove temporary, and hiring should bounce back in the coming months.
DISASTERS PRICED AT $95 BILLION
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as two recent earthquakes in Mexico likely cost the insurance industry about $95 billion, said Swiss Re, one of the world’s biggest reinsurers.
The Zurich-based company, which as a reinsurer provides backup policies to companies that write primary insurance policies, said Friday that the claims process is ongoing and estimates could evolve.
Swiss Re expects its own payouts linked to the natural disasters will be about $3.6 billion, including $175 million for the Mexico earthquakes alone.
MERCK TO CUT 1,600 SALES JOBS
Merck & Co. said Friday it is laying off about 1,800 U.S. sales representatives, or nearly 7 percent of the drugmaker’s U.S. workforce, in a reorganization the company says will cut costs and shift focus to products with growth potential.
At the same time, Merck said it would create a new “chronic care” sales team of 960 reps who will promote its top-selling drug, diabetes treatment Januvia, plus insomnia medication Belsomra and drugs for respiratory diseases and women’s health. Merck also hopes to begin selling two new diabetes drugs if regulators approve them.
STORCH TO LEAVE HUDSON’S BAY
The parent of Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue says its CEO Jerry Storch is stepping down and will return to his advisory firm on Nov. 1.
Storch has been the CEO of Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay, which also operates the department store chain under its namesake, since January 2015.
Hudson’s Bay says it has retained an executive search firm to recruit a new CEO. Richard Baker, the company’s executive chairman, will serve as interim CEO.
Storch previously was CEO at Toys “R” Us and also was once vice chairman at Target Corp.