Whistleblower: USAA ‘actively lying to regulators for years’ regarding violations of law
Senior executives at USAA ignored warnings from compliance staff and consultants for years regarding multiple violations of U.S. federal banking laws and “intentionally” hid from regulators the scope of the company’s illegal practices, a former USAA director of compliance turned whistleblower told Compliance Week.
The $225 million in combined civil penalties USAA has received, to date—$85 million in 2020 and $140 million in March—from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for compliance failures could portend more enforcement activity to come, the whistleblower suggested.
“These fines are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Lenn Ferrer, who was hired in compliance at USAA Federal Savings Bank (USAA Bank), an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of USAA, before he blew the whistle to federal regulators in March 2020. Ferrer was terminated the same day by USAA, which it claimed was “for cause” for “creat[ing] a toxic employment atmosphere by engaging in threatening and inappropriate conduct towards coworkers,” according to documents seen by Compliance Week.