By Kartikay Mehrotra, Bloomberg News
Wells Fargo & Co. reached a $110 million settlement with customers nationwide over claims its employees set up fraudulent accounts to boost their own pay.
Revelations that Wells Fargo employees may have opened more than 2 million deposit and credit-card accounts without customers’ permission has prompted sweeping changes at the San Francisco-based lender. The bank eliminated a system of sales targets that regulators said encouraged workers to create fake accounts. It also fired or demoted five people who had served as senior managers in the consumer business.
Wells Fargo agreed six months ago to pay $185 million in fines and penalties as part of a settlement with federal regulators and the Los Angeles city attorney’s office. The San Francisco-based bank didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing as part of that agreement.
The deal, announced Tuesday by the bank and in a court filing, covers dozens of lawsuits filed across the country, including 10 in San Francisco federal court. The agreement must still be approved by a federal judge.
“We want to ensure that each customer impacted by our sales practices issue has every opportunity for remediation, and this agreement presents an additional option,” Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan said in a statement. “We continue to encourage customers to contact us directly so that we can act quickly to refund fees and address any concerns.”
A federal panel of jurists is slated on March 30 to consider whether all consumer cases against the bank should be consolidated before a single judge.
The case is Jabbari v. Wells Fargo & Co., 15-cv-02159, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
–With assistance from Laura J. Keller.
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