If you have been reading or watching the news lately you probably have seen that Wells Fargo has just been fined $185 million dollars by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This is actually one of the largest fines in history against Wells Fargo, which by market value. is the largest bank in America. It is the first such fine instituted by CFPB which was created in 2008 to regulate the financial industry after the housing crash which lead to the great recession.
So What Happened?
Well what happened at Wells Fargo, simply put, was fraud. Fraud on a massive scale. It seems that over the last few years Wells Fargo had been pushing extreme sales goals for their bankers in opening checking and savings accounts. If a salesperson were to meet their sales goal they were given a commission or bonus and if they didn’t they faced being fired. This pressure lead to thousands of their bankers to fraudulently open extra banks for their clients without telling them. To do this they had to forge signatures of clients and in some cases even create fake email addresses and PIN numbers for the accounts.
How Did They Get Caught?
Well to keep these accounts open they needed to have a minimum amount of money in it. So to do this bankers were taking money from their clients original checking or savings account and putting it in the new fraudulent account without them knowing. This caused many clients to overdraft their original accounts a they assumed they had more money in there. This lead to automatic unwarranted fees and penalties by the bank. As people started to complain and realize what was going on the real scope crime came in to focus and that is when the CFPB began to investigate and then decided to fine Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo in turn has said to have fired over 5000 employees who had been perpetrating the fraud.
What To Do If I Think I Was A Victim?
If you think an account had been opened in your name without you knowing you will need to contact Wells Fargo immediately. Same goes if you think you had been wrongly charged a fee. The CFPB has already stated that Wells Fargo must refund any and all clients there were erroneously charged fees and penalties due to the fraud. In the future be sure to check your statements every month so that you can catch anything that happens as soon as it happens.