What is Wells Fargo?
Wells Fargo is the second-largest international banking and financial service company in the US. Founded in 1849 by Henry Wells and William Fargo as a freight and banking company in the West, it has since grown to serve more than 70 million US households through more than 9,000 stores and 12,000 ATMs nationwide. Over 22 million of its customers actively bank online, and more than 10 million use its mobile banking services.
What is Wells Fargo known for?
Serving more communities than any other US bank, Wells Fargo is a trusted banking institution known for its classic stagecoach logo. It’s the largest mortgage and auto lender in the United States, and an estimated 10% of all small businesses use this bank’s financial services. Which makes its 2016 account fraud scandal, whereby Wells Fargo was accused of creating more than 2 billion fake bank accounts for unauthorized cross-selling of products, all the more disappointing. The bank eventually settled on a payout and committed to amend its bylaws to prevent future scandals.
What products does Wells Fargo offer?
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- Checking accounts
- Savings accounts and CDs
- Credit cards
- Debit and prepaid cards
- Foreign exchange services
- Global remittances
Loans and credit. Finance your new home or car, your education, your small business and everyday needs with flexibility and ease.
- Auto insurance
- Specialty vehicle insurance
- Homeowners insurance
- Umbrella liability insurance
Investing and retirement. Wells Fargo’s investing solutions can help you prioritize for your short- and long-term goals.
- IRAs and rollovers
- Investment services
- Investing for education
Wealth management. Let Wells Fargo’s expert advice empower better investment decisions for a stronger financial future.
- Business checking
- Business savings and CDs
- Business credit and debit cards
- Business lines of credit
- Business loans
- Merchant services
- Payroll services
Commercial services. Work with a Wells Fargo relationship manager or banker to keep your business moving forward.
- Commercial financing
- Commercial insurance
- Institutional investing and savings
The Wells Fargo fake account scandal
In September 2016, Wells Fargo announced that it would pay $185 million to settle allegations by the Los Angeles Times that more than 5,000 of its employees created millions of ghost accounts for its customers since 2011. After an “eight is great” sales goal directed by management to sign up customers with at least eight Wells Fargo products each, employees began creating fake bank and credit card accounts to meet the quota, moving money between accounts without their knowledge or permission. These accounts racked up more than $2.5 million in fees for the bank — fees paid by customers who discovered they were on the hook for credit cards they hadn’t applied for or used, insufficient account funds and other penalties.
Longtime CEO John Stumpf resigned in October 2016, replaced by Timothy Sloan, and 5,300 employees were fired. But Wells Fargo’s problems are not yet behind them: In addition to the $185 million payout, federal prosecutors are continuing investigations and threaten to clawback retirement and other compensation for executives who retired in the wake of the scandal.
If you believe that an unauthorized account or service was opened in your name, no matter when it happened, call Wells Fargo’s dedicated claims hotline at 1-877-924-8697.
Bottom line: can you trust Wells Fargo?
Wells Fargo offers a wealth of financial and banking services for nearly every stage of life and business. Despite its 2016 fake account scandal, it turns out that few customers have left the bank. Time will tell how deeply this scandal affects Wells Fargo’s bottom line.
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