If the negotiations are successful a deal could be announced later this month, Reuters reported, citing anonymous sources. The bank's retirement plan services unit, which includes Wells Fargo's 401(k) savings accounts business, would expand a similar business of Principal Financial.
The scandal-plagued Wells Fargo has been rocked by a series of alleged cases since 2016 involving customer mistreatment that have cost the bank more than $4.5 billion in settlements and forgone revenue. The bank's executives acknowledged that employees opened more than 3 million unauthorized accounts in the names of customers. Last year the Federal Reserve ordered Wells Fargo to refrain from further asset growth until it overhauled risk management and corporate oversight. The bank has since replaced several directors who failed to prevent the improper sales practices.
Last week, Maxine Waters, a Democratic congresswoman who heads the U.S. House of Representatives' Financial Services Committee, said at the hearing that Wells Fargo is blighted by "ongoing lawlessness and failure to right the ship."
Principal Financial is a Des Moines, Iowa-based life insurance and financial services group with a market capitalization of $14.5 billion. Both Principal and Wells Fargo declined to comment.