Timeline of the Wells Fargo Accounts Scandal


Posted on: September 20th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Wells Fargo is embroiled in a scandal over assertions that bank employees opened accounts without customers’ authorization.

Here’s a timeline of key events since the allegations came to light:

Sept. 8, 2016

The alleged misconduct was revealed when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Los Angeles City Attorney and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) fined the bank $185 million, alleging that more than 2 million bank accounts or credit cards were opened or applied for without customers’ knowledge or permission between May 2011 and July 2015.

A bank official acknowledged that it had terminated some 5,300 employees, roughly 1 percent of the workforce, in relation to the allegations, and the bank issued a statement saying, “We regret and take responsibility for any instances where customers may have received a product that they did not request.” Read our story from the time, or see how the scandal affects customers.

Sept. 13, 2016

The bank announced that it would be ending its controversial employee sales goals program that was at the center of the allegations effective Jan. 1, 2017.

According to the Los Angeles City Attorney, employees were opening and funding accounts without customers’ permission or knowledge in order to “satisfy sales goals and earn financial rewards under the bank’s incentive-compensation program.”

The CFPB said the bank imposed the goals on its staff because it “sought to distinguish itself in the marketplace as a leader in ‘cross-selling’ banking products and services to its existing customers.”

The same day, Stumpf appeared on CNBC, where he rebuffed suggestions that he resign. “I think the best thing I could do right now is lead this company, and lead this company forward,” he said.

Sept. 14, 2016

It was announced that the FBI and federal prosecutors in New York and California were probing the bank over the alleged misconduct, a development that opened the possibility of criminal charges.

Sept. 16, 2016

The House of Representative’s Financial Services Committee opened an investigation into the bank’s alleged misconduct as well as “the role of Washington regulators in monitoring and investigating” the alleged misconduct.

A letter sent to the bank’s general counsel asked him to make four senior executives available for transcribed interviews, including Carrie Tolstedt. Tolstedt, who government filings say is in her mid-50s, was the head of Wells Fargo’s community banking division — which oversees the banks most consumers are familiar with — until her retirement was announced in July.

The CFPB and OCC did not comment.

The same day, three Utah residents filed what is believed to be the first class-action lawsuit brought by customers against Wells Fargo over the allegations. Wells Fargo declined to comment on the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Utah.

Sept. 20, 2016

Stumpf appeared in front of the Senate Banking Committee, where Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, called on him to resign and said he should face criminal charges.

Republicans chided the embattled CEO as well, with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, saying Stumpf would be engaging in “malpractice” if the bank didn’t “claw back” money that it had paid to executives during the period that the accounts were being opened without customers’ permission. 

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