Wells Fargo puts yet another mark on its scandal scorecard

by Ryan Smith22 Aug 2017
First Wells Fargo opened millions of accounts that customers didn’t want. Now it seems the lending giant may have closed real accounts that customers did want.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is looking into complaints that the scandal-plagued bank closed or froze customers’ accounts, leaving them without access to their money. And a Reuters review of the CFPB’s complaints database found several complaints that Wells Fargo had closed or frozen accounts.

According to Reuters, some of the complainants said they were victims of identity theft, and Wells Fargo closed their accounts and refused to reopen new ones. Others described fraudulent deposits. One complainant said that Wells Fargo closed an account after a hacker changed personal information, and then sent funds to the wrong address.

According to Reuters, the complaints had a few recurring themes – confusion about why he accounts were closed, customers’ desperation at being locked out of their own money, and frustration that Wells Fargo’s customer service wasn’t helping matters.

“I moved money from my mother’s savings account into her checking account the day before she passed away,” one customer wrote. “This checking account has been ‘locked’ by the fraud department for almost 3 months … Now her debts are delinquent and mortgage about to go into foreclosure.”

Wells Fargo reported in a quarterly regulatory filing that the CFPB was investigating the issue.

“We continue to work with our regulator on this issue,” Wells Fargo spokesperson Kristopher Dahl told Reuters. “As always, our goal is to protect our customers and the bank from fraud, and we want to do so in ways that minimize the risk and impact on our customers.”

Wells Fargo was first mired in scandal almost a year ago when it was discovered that bank employees had opened more than 2 million customer accounts without the customers’ knowledge or permission.

That scandal cost the bank millions in penalties and led to the ouster of CEO John Stumpf. In the months since then, Wells Fargo has admitted to charging customers for insurance they didn’t need or ask for and changing customers’ mortgage terms without warning.

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