CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WGHP) – Wells Fargo Bank, which has its East Coast headquarters in a tower on South College Street, has been ordered to pay $3.7 billion in a civil penalty and reimbursements for harming more than 16 million consumer accounts during the past few years.
CNN first reported the penalty this morning by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which also included $2 billion to compensate consumers “for a range of illegal activity” and $1.7 billion as a penalty.
The CFPB, which oversees financial protection for the U.S. government, charged Wells Fargo with “widespread mismanagement,” CNN reported, for misapplying loan payments, wrongfully foreclosing on homes and repossessing vehicles, illegally assessing fees and interest and charging surprise overdraft fees.
Wells Fargo has been under scrutiny for more than five years and in 2016 admitted to regulators that it had created as many as 2 million unauthorized accounts. The Associated Press reported that Wells Fargo Wells paid a $1 billion penalty in 2018, which was the largest against a bank for such violations at the time, and that order also prohibited the bank from growing until its problems were resolved.
“Wells Fargo’s rinse-repeat cycle of violating the law has harmed millions of American families,” Rohit Chopra, the CFPB’s director, said in a statement to CNN.
In a statement released by the company and shared by The Associated Press, Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf said that the agreement with the CFPB is part of an effort to “transform operating practices at Wells Fargo and to put these issues behind us.”
Said Chopra to The AP: “This should not been seen as Wells Fargo has moved past its problems.”
The bank has approximately 4,700 locations nationally and an estimated 70 million customers. The company has about 235 branches in North Carolina.
This report is developing.