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Wells Fargo Cites U.S. Rules for Dismissal of Employee

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May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Wells Fargo & Co., the largest U.S. mortgage lender, said federal banking regulations led it to fire a Milwaukee employee for a 40-year-old shoplifting violation.

The dismissal was tied to background checks across the mortgage business that have led to the firing of “a handful” of employees, according to Jason Menke, a spokesman at the San Francisco-based company. Menke declined to provide the number of firings. The customer-service employee at the home-loan unit was fired after five years of employment for the 1972 charge, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported May 5.

The policy is in accordance with Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act which prohibits depository institutions from employing workers with a criminal record tied to dishonesty or breaches of trust, Wells Fargo said today in a statement.

“The decision to terminate team members over criminal matters that occurred prior to their employment with Wells Fargo may seem tough - we recognize that these situations are difficult for everyone involved,” Wells Fargo said in the statement. “Laws and regulations related to the employment of bank employees are designed to protect the interests of all consumers who put their trust in financial service companies.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Dakin Campbell in New York at dcampbell27@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net.

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