Wells Fargo Reached Settlement With DOJ, OCC

canstockphoto0192557Wells Fargo & Co. was fined more than $24 million yesterday by federal regulators for alleged violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, according to press releases from two regulatory agencies.

Wells Fargo & Co. has agreed to pay $4.1 million to resolve allegations it improperly repossessed 413 cars owned by members of the military without obtaining a court order, according to a Department of Justice press release.

Separately, Wells Fargo was fined $20 million by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for violating the same act. The bank violated three separate provisions between 2006 and 2016, the regulator, which did a separate investigation, said, according to a press release from the OCC.

“Wells Fargo is committed to ensuring all servicemember customers have the important SCRA protections and benefits available to them,” Wells Fargo said in a statement sent to AFN. “In those instances where some servicemembers did not receive the appropriate benefits and protections, we did not live up to our commitment and we apologize. We have been notifying and fully compensating customers and will complete this work in 60 days.”

The San Francisco-based lender, doing business as Wells Fargo Dealer Services, has also agreed to change its policies for the alleged violations of the SCRA. The DOJ settlement covers repossessions that occurred between Jan. 1, 2008, and July 1, 2015.

The agreement requires Wells Fargo to pay $20 million to the Treasury Department, $60,000 to a federal fund, and $10,000 to each affected servicemembers, plus any lost equity in the vehicle with interest. Wells Fargo also must repair the credit of all affected servicemembers.

“We self-identified many of the problems over the past year, and we have strengthened our processes to deliver SCRA benefits and protections more proactively and consistently, enhanced our efforts to identify eligible servicemembers and improved our oversight,” Wells said in the statement. “The changes we’ve already made and the ongoing commitment of the entire organization, including our board of directors, to delivering for our military customers demonstrate the great honor we have to serve those who serve our country.”

These enforcement actions against the bank follow an unrelated $185 million settlement in which employees of the firm opened more than 2 million fake accounts, with the aim of meeting internal sales targets.

This article was written by Larissa Padden and Natalie Mattila

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