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Report: Employees fake data on Citizens Financial Group customer meeting program


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Report: Employees fake data on Citizens Financial Group customer meeting program

Eleven existing and former branch workers of Citizens Financial Group Inc. purportedly reported fake data on the company's "financial checkup" program, The Wall Street Journal reported March 29, citing those individuals.

According to the newspaper, the program, developed as part of the company's efforts to bring over $60 million in additional revenue for 2016, invites clients to set up appointments for "financial checkups" in their branches. The Providence, R.I.-based company reported that 400,000 meetings were scheduled last year.

However, the 11 current and former bankers of the company disclosed that they falsified some of the meetings, the publication reported. The employees alleged that they were pressured to yield around 10 to 15 checkup appointments per banker per week, which were tracked as part of their performance metrics.

According to the bankers, the program encountered problems as some clients did not want to make appointments, while others thought the calls were coming from telemarketers. Some of the bankers told the Journal that in order to meet their quotas, they set up fake appointments, which they filled with random customer names, and noted that the client did not show up or did not buy a new product. Other bankers reportedly tapped into clients' financial records to make believable answers to fake appointments, the news outlet added.

Although the bankers said the falsification of appointments did not involve opening of unauthorized accounts, the publication said it could raise questions on the truthfulness of the data the company presents to investors, as well as on its corporate culture and internal controls.

On the other hand, Citizens Financial said no data suggest that the program information was falsified. The company also said it worked with a consultant in tracking the program's progress and had implemented strict controls. Citizens Financial's head of consumer banking, Brad Conner, said the chief conduct officer will review the matter thoroughly, the Journal reported.