Published: Sat, December 29, 2018
Money | By Bruce West

IA and MN to get millions in Wells Fargo settlement

IA and MN to get millions in Wells Fargo settlement

On Dec. 19, the bank agreed to pay $480 million to settle a class-action claim from shareholders who said they were harmed by the bank's false statements about its misdeeds.

Under the agreement announced Friday, the bank will also be required to create teams to review and respond to customer complaints about its banking and sales practices.

California, the bank's home state, will get more than a quarter of the settlement funds because of the number of Wells Fargo customers residing there.

The settlement ends wide-ranging investigations that began in 2016 when Wells Fargo acknowledged firing 5,000 employees for opening sham accounts customers didn't want in order to meet the bank's aggressive sales goals and qualify for bonuses.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says this settlement represents the most significant engagement involving a national bank by state attorney generals without a federal law enforcement partner. "Instead of safeguarding its customers, Wells Fargo exploited them, signing them up for products - from bank accounts to insurance - that they never wanted". As a result, employees routinely enrolled customers in checking and savings accounts, credit cards, debit cards, unsecured lines of credit and online bill pay services without their knowledge or consent. The bank was accused of forcing unwanted auto insurance on some customers who took out vehicle loans, enrolling more than 500,000 people in a bill-paying service they might not have sought, overcharging some mortgage customers and charging customers for life-insurance policies they did not purchase.

Wells Fargo has previously entered consent orders with federal authorities. The remediation will include payments to over 51,000 customers whose cars were repossessed. And it will pay roughly $600 million in restitution to consumers affected.

More information on the redress review program, including Wells ‪Fargo‬ escalation phone numbers and the website address will be available on or ‪before February 26, 2019‬.

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