SAN FRANCISCO - Wells Fargo has been fined $185 million by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after 5300 employees created phony accounts which customers ended up paying fees for, according to USA Today. The company said in a statement that those employees have been fired.
CNN Money reported that federal regulators said the employees secretly created millions of bank and credit card accounts that were not authorized by customers since 2011. According to the Los Angeles Times, employees opened the accounts to meet strict sales goals.
Here is what customers need to know:
Refunds have been issued and there may be more to come
Wells Fargo said $2.6 million in refunds has been issued to customers for fees that were tied to unauthorized accounts. The average was about $25 for each account. About 100,000 customers have received refunds.
"If we learn of any additional customers who require refunds, we will make those refunds promptly," the company said in an email to employees Thursday. $5 million has been set aside for customer refunds.
If you open an account, you should get a confirmation email
Any accounts opened with Wells Fargo should be confirmed by a welcome email sent to the account opener soon after the personal checking or savings account is created. The email, according to Wells Fargo, will have details of the choices made by the account holder and how to get in touch with the bank.
Most of the $185 million fine will be paid to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Wells Fargo will have to pay $100 million to the federal agency and $35 million to another federal regulator -- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. NPR reported that another $50 million will be paid to Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles.
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