Wells Fargo discovers 1.4 million more fake accounts
The bank agreed to provide additional compensation.
As part of an expanded third-party review of retail accounts, US bank Wells Fargo has revealed as many as 3.5 million accounts may have been created for customers without permission since 2009.
Last September, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $185 million in order to settle three government lawsuits over the bank’s creation of around 2.1 million potentially unapproved customer accounts.
These new figures represent an additional 1.4 million unauthorized consumer and small business accounts.
The original account analysis reviewed 93.5 million current and former customer accounts opened over four and half years, between May 2011 until mid-2015. The expanded analysis reviewed more than 165 million retail bank accounts opened over a nearly eight-year period, from January 2009 through to September 2016.
190,000 accounts exposed customers to unwarranted fees and charges. While the bank has already refunded $3.3 million as part of its original review, a further $2.8 million will be distributed to those affected.
The analysis also discovered around 528,000 potentially unauthorized online bill pay enrollments. Wells Fargo has agreed to refund $910,000 to customers who incurred fees or charges. The review found accounts with only one minimal payment and no further use of the service were likely to be potentially unauthorized.
Wells Fargo chief executive Tim Sloan apologised to customers and labelled the sales practices “unacceptable”.
“To rebuild trust and to build a better Wells Fargo, our first priority is to make things right for our customers, and the completion of this expanded third-party analysis is an important milestone,” he said.
Much of the multi-million dollar settlement will reimburse class-action victims for claims dating back to 2002.
Customers who believe an unauthorized account or service has been opened in their name, regardless of when the issue occurred, can contact Wells Fargo on a dedicated claims hotline for information: 1-877-924-8697.