Wells Fargo FAQs: Settlement & Commitment

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What actually happened?

Why have Wells Fargo’s sales practices been in the news?

In September 2016, we reached settlements with the City Attorney of Los Angeles, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency over allegations that some of our retail banking customers received products they did not request.

We truly regret and take full responsibility for any instances where customers received products they did not request. We are fully committed to doing everything possible to fix this issue, strengthen our culture, and take the necessary actions to restore our customers’ trust.

Did the unethical sales practice make money for the company?

Unauthorized accounts cost Wells Fargo money and unsatisfied customers. Wells Fargo makes money when our customers use the products and services we provide them; we generally lose money if accounts are opened and not used. As such, providing services that the customer does not need or want is not in our interest or the interest of our customers.

Does it affect me?

How has Wells Fargo notified customers who were impacted?

We’re fully committed to helping impacted customers and making things right. We are refunding those customers who were affected and we’re actively looking for any customers who may have accounts they didn’t ask for. We’ve also established a dedicated toll-free number for any customer with a sales practices concern to contact us at 877-924-8697.

On Aug. 31, we shared an update on our remediation efforts for customers, which have in been in progress and are continuing over the next several months.

Our efforts have included review by a third party of more than 165 million retail banking accounts over a nearly eight-year period – from January 2009 through September 2016 – to find account usage patterns that could indicate a potentially unauthorized account. If potentially unauthorized accounts also incurred fees, those fees have been returned to customers or identified to be returned to customers beginning in September 2017. Since usage patterns of some authorized accounts opened with a customer’s consent can be similar to some unauthorized accounts, it is likely that some properly authorized accounts were included in the population identified as unauthorized accounts.

In addition, we have entered into a $142 million class action settlement covering all persons who claim that Wells Fargo opened, without their consent, a consumer or small business checking or savings account or an unsecured credit card or line of credit, or enrolled them in certain identity theft protection services, between May 1, 2002 and April 20, 2017. During September and October 2017, Wells Fargo and a court-appointed claims administrator will be sending communications about how to join the class to current and former customers.

Additionally, we are compiling a list of customers who complained to us about an unauthorized account that was opened without their consent. Those customers will be notified by both Wells Fargo and the court-appointed claims administrator and automatically enrolled in a portion of the class-action settlement.

We continue to encourage any customer to contact us if they believe they were harmed by improper sales practices, regardless of when it happened, so we can work with them to make it right.

For more information on the steps we’re taking, visit Building a Better Bank: Our Progress to read recent news and see an interactive timeline of our progress.

If I wish to review my accounts, what should I do?

You can see all of your Wells Fargo banking account relationships via our online or mobile banking services at www.wellsfargo.com. If you have access to Wells Fargo Online®, use your mobile, tablet or desktop device and sign on to quickly access and monitor your accounts and activity.

You can also talk to a customer service representative at 877-924-8697, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or visit one of our banking locations.

For more information on the steps we’re taking to make things right, visit Building a Better Bank: Our Progress to read recent news and see an interactive timeline of our progress.

What should I do if I see an account that I do not recognize or do not want?

As always, if you are not happy with your account or the service you have received, or if you see any product that you have that you don’t want, please let us know.

You can talk to a customer service representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 877-924-8697, or visit one of our banking locations.

What if I believe an unauthorized account was opened under my name in the past?

You can talk to a customer service representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 877-924-8697.

Are you a former team member with questions?

You can contact us at CorporateER@wellsfargo.com.

What has Wells Fargo done to respond?

How has Wells Fargo taken accountability for these issues to make it right for customers?

We’re working diligently across the company to make it right for impacted customers, fix what went wrong so it doesn’t happen again, and build a better bank for the future.  We’ve changed top leadership in our Community Bank, eliminated a layer of management in order to bring senior leaders closer to our customers, and terminated executives linked to inappropriate sales practices.

Our Board cancelled all 2016 cash bonuses for eight senior leaders, including our CEO, who were on our company’s Operating Committee prior to November 1, 2016. Our Board also changed their structure to require an independent chairman who cannot also serve as CEO. In addition, among other board changes,  we announced Elizabeth A. “Betsy” Duke to succeed Stephen W. Sanger as independent Chair, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

We eliminated product sales goals for retail banking team members who serve customers in our bank branches and call centers.  We also created a new compensation and performance management program for retail bankers focused on customer experience, stronger oversight and controls, and team versus individual incentives.

In February 2018, we entered into a consent order with the Federal Reserve to improve risk management, compliance and oversight at the company. In the consent order, the Federal Reserve acknowledges the efforts that we’ve taken to improve corporate governances and risk management, but believes there is more work that needs to be done, and we agree. We are continuing the work that has been underway and are committed to meeting the requirements of the new consent order agreement thoroughly and as quickly as possible.

We want nothing to get in the way of doing what is right for customers. We’ve made system and process enhancements, including sending automated notifications to customers after a personal or small business checking account, savings account, or credit card has been opened. We’re making efforts to reach affected retail and small business customers, whether they have a checking, savings, credit card and or unsecured line of credit with us, and we’ve established a dedicated toll-free number at 877-924-8697.

For more information on the steps we’re taking, visit Building a Better Bank: Our Progress to read recent news and see an interactive timeline of our progress.

Has Wells Fargo identified customers whose credit scores were affected by unauthorized accounts? What steps are being taken to ensure these customers’ credits are restored?

We’ve heard customers’ concerns about potential harm to credit scores due to unauthorized accounts, and have entered into a $142 million class action settlement that includes remediation for affected customers, including those with credit score impact.

During September and October 2017, Wells Fargo and a court-appointed claims administrator will be sending communications about how to join the class to current and former customers.

What is Wells Fargo doing to strengthen its culture and rebuild trust?

From new leaders with fresh perspective to better ways to care for our customers and team members, we’re making changes and taking action to build a stronger Wells Fargo.

In addition to many steps we’ve taken to better serve our customers, we hired an outside academic who specializes in corporate culture to analyze and make recommendations about our culture. We know we don’t have all the answers and want to learn from others.

For more information on the steps we’re taking, visit Building a Better Bank: Our Progress to read recent news and see an interactive timeline of our progress.

What is Wells Fargo’s response to media reports that some team members may have been terminated for raising concerns about improper sales practices?

We take seriously the allegations cited in the media and are reviewing disputes by former team members. Retaliatory behavior has always been, and continues to be, grounds for corrective action up to and including termination. Additionally, our termination review processes allow team members who are involuntarily terminated in retaliation for raising concerns the opportunity to have that decision reviewed by an Employee Relations professional who was not involved in the underlying termination decision.

We are doing a thorough review of our EthicsLine processes with the help of independent experts to identify and resolve any issues and fully investigate any questions about past EthicsLine actions. 

We have also expanded our “Raise Your Hand” initiative, encouraging team members to speak up when they see something unethical – or if they have an idea to help reduce risk.

For more information on the steps we’re taking to make things right, visit Building a Better Bank: Our Progress to read recent news and see an interactive timeline of our progress.

How does Wells Fargo handle dispute resolution?

At Wells Fargo, our priority is to make things right for our customers and to restore trust in our bank. If a customer received a product they did not want or authorize due to improper sales practices, Wells Fargo is making every attempt to resolve the issue directly with them first. If we cannot, we are providing free mediation services through an objective third-party.

As a last resort, the arbitration clause in our account agreements allows a customer to engage another neutral party to have his or her legal dispute heard and resolved quickly and efficiently.  Customers also do have the option to take a dispute to small claims court.

Wells Fargo has been working very hard to undo harm that may have been caused to our customers, including contacting those affected to ensure they still want their accounts, reimbursing improper fees and issuing refunds. We want to make sure that any legal action is a last resort.