Company repeatedly misapplied loan payments, wrongfully foreclosed on homes and illegally repossessed vehicles, incorrectly assessed fees and interest, charged surprise overdraft fees, along with other illegal activity affecting over 16 million consumer accounts
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is ordering Wells Fargo Bank to pay more than $2 billion in redress to consumers and a $1.7 billion civil penalty for legal violations across several of its largest product lines. The bank’s illegal conduct led to billions of dollars in financial harm to its customers and, for thousands of customers, the loss of their vehicles and homes. Consumers were illegally assessed fees and interest charges on auto and mortgage loans, had their cars wrongly repossessed, and had payments to auto and mortgage loans misapplied by the bank. Wells Fargo also charged consumers unlawful surprise overdraft fees and applied other incorrect charges to checking and savings accounts. Under the terms of the order, Wells Fargo will pay redress to the over 16 million affected consumer accounts, and pay a $1.7 billion fine, which will go to the CFPB’s Civil Penalty Fund, where it will be used to provide relief to victims of consumer financial law violations.
“Wells Fargo’s rinse-repeat cycle of violating the law has harmed millions of American families,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “The CFPB is ordering Wells Fargo to refund billions of dollars to consumers across the country. This is an important initial step for accountability and long-term reform of this repeat offender.”
Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) is one of the nation’s largest banks serving households across the country. It offers a variety of consumer financial services, including mortgages, auto loans, savings and checking accounts, and online banking services.
According to today’s enforcement action, Wells Fargo harmed millions of consumers over a period of several years, with violations across many of the bank’s largest product lines. The CFPB’s specific findings include that Wells Fargo:
Wells Fargo is a repeat offender that has been the subject of multiple enforcement actions by the CFPB and other regulators for violations across its lines of business, including faulty student loan servicing, mortgage kickbacks, fake accounts, and harmful auto loan practices.
Under the Consumer Financial Protection Act, the CFPB has the authority to take action against institutions violating federal consumer financial laws, including by engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices. The CFPB’s investigation found that Wells Fargo violated the Act’s prohibition on unfair and deceptive acts and practices.
The CFPB order requires Wells Fargo to:
Read CFPB Director Chopra’s remarks on a press call announcing the action.
The CFPB wishes to thank members of the public who submitted complaints through the CFPB’s complaint system across Wells Fargo product lines. These complaints aided in the detection of some of the illegal activity uncovered in the CFPB’s investigation.
The CFPB is also grateful for the cooperation and the substantial work performed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, whose efforts have contributed to the significant remediation received by consumers harmed by the bank’s illegal activity, and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
Consumers who are experiencing ongoing problems with Wells Fargo, or other financial providers, can submit complaints by visiting the CFPB’s website or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372). The Bureau also has resources for consumers about mortgage servicing, auto loans, and deposit accounts:
Mortgage servicing: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/mortgages/
Auto loans: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/auto-loans/
Deposit Accounts: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/bank-accounts/
Wells Fargo employees who are aware of other illegal activity are encouraged to send information about what they know to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit www.consumerfinance.gov.
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