SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Wells Fargo has been assessed $1 billion in fines to settle probes into practices extending back to 2016. The (soon-to-be-gutted) Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will each receive half the total. The fines were assessed to penalize the practices of forcing customers procuring car loans to purchase unwanted insurance and inappropriately charging customers seeking mortgages for locking-in interest rates. The bank was already fined $185 million in 2016 for opening millions of accounts in existing customers’ names without their permission. Last quarter, the bank paid $3.25 billion in settlements, mostly for running afoul of regulations overseeing sales practices. Since CEO Tim Sloan has taken the helm, additional irregularities have been exposed through internal controls. The bank remains under unprecedented sanctions imposed by the Federal Reserve, preventing it from increasing total assets above 2017 levels until abuses and lapses are corrected. Proceeds from the fines will support victim restitution and consumer education programs.