Wells Fargo finds more unauthorized accounts, online billpay problems
Wells Fargo & Co will refund more customers for charges they should not have incurred after expanding a review of improper sales practices, the third-largest U.S. bank said on Thursday.
The announcement is the latest in a drip feed of bad news about Wells Fargo’s consumer business, nearly a year after a sales scandal badly damaged the reputation of the lending giant.
Wells will return $2.8 million to 1.4 million additional customers who appear to have had consumer and small business accounts opened without permission. It will return $910,000 to about 528,000 people who may have been enrolled in online billpay services without permission, a newly disclosed problem.
The findings come nearly a year after Wells Fargo reached a $190 million settlement with regulators over phony accounts. That led to the departure of a chief executive, a divisive shareholder meeting and disclosures of other sales practice problems ranging from unwanted auto insurance to improper mortgage fees.
The problems reported on Thursday came after a third party that Wells Fargo had hired examined accounts stemming back to 2009, a broader timeframe than a review conducted last year. The bank previously disclosed the expanded review in a quarterly securities filing, but not its results.
The bank is now reviewing accounts dating back to 2002, Chief Executive Tim Sloan said on a conference call with reporters.
“With the expanded analysis now complete, we will focus on remediation and making things right for our customers,” he said.
(Reporting by Dan Freed in New York; Editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra and Bernadette Baum)