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Wells Fargo Thinks It’s Paid Back Customers as Required –Rather Presumptuous, No?

January 17, 2017

Wells Fargo said on Friday it believes it has reimbursed the customers it needs to in order to comply with at least one of 3 settlements over a bogus-accounts scandal.


"We've accomplished a lot over the past few months but we still have a lot of work to do ... to rebuild trust with our customers, team members, and other key stakeholders." -- CEO Tim Sloan, during a call with analysts.


Wells Fargo has been dealing with multiple lawsuits and a sharp drop in account openings after it settled with the Los Angeles City Attorney, the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in September over charges that its employees created as many as 2 million accounts without customers' consent.


The bank has made $3.2 million of refunds for potentially unauthorized accounts that incurred fees and charges, which it believes fulfills its repayment requirements under the settlement to the L.A. City Attorney. But L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer said it was "too soon to say that all affected Wells Fargo customers have been made whole." He noted that, under the settlement, the bank must offer mediation until September 2018 to customers who feel they have not been made completely whole.


It could not be determined whether the bank has reimbursement requirements under the other 2 settlements. The bank agreed in September to pay $185 million in penalties and up to $5 million to customers who, regulators say, were pushed into fee-generating accounts they never requested.


Wells Fargo also said it is still analyzing whether additional unauthorized accounts were opened in 2009 and 2010, which goes beyond its requirements under the settlement. The bank also said that more than 177,000 accounts that had potentially unauthorized credit cards opened, or unauthorized inquiries made, had credit score declines.


The bank is still conducting other internal inquiries to determine who else may be responsible for the sales problems, and has said it will make amends in various ways, from compensating customers whose credit scores may have been harmed to welcoming back employees who may have been fired for the wrong reasons.