Banks That Buy Companies with Troubled Compliance Should Scrutinize Employees, Work with Regulators

By Brian Monroe

If March's record penalty against Wells Fargo & Co. has reminded compliance departments of the bite of anti-money laundering regulatory fines, it has also been a reminder of something else. With acquisitions and mergers come problems. Since January 2008, nearly a dozen large financial institutions have merged in response to the recession, at times linking depository institutions, such as Bank of America, with investment firms, like Merrill Lynch. Some mergers, including Wells Fargo's December 2008 acquisition of Wachovia Bank, have progressed at a relatively rapid pace. But because acquiring banks are typically "so focused on the financials, such as credit...