Wells Fargo, the embattled national bank, disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a government regulatory agency, is investigating if it closed accounts of customers that needed them.
According to a news report in Reuters, citing the regulatory filing, the CFPB is looking into whether Wells Fargo hurt customers by shutting off their access to accounts with money they needed to access. In some of the cases, the actions happened after customers’ accounts were breached.
Reuters reported that a review by the news services uncovered several cases in which customers said they experienced financial hardship after Wells Fargo froze or closed an account unexpectedly. Reuters stated that some of the complaints included claims there were fraudulent deposits made to accounts. Some customers said they were victims of identity theft, and, as a result, Wells Fargo canceled their accounts but wouldn’t reopen them or give them new ones.
One of the account closings happened when a hacker breached it and changed the personal information of the client, resulting in Wells Fargo sending funds to the incorrect address, reported Reuters. “I moved money from my mother’s savings account into her checking account the day before she passed away,” one Wells Fargo customer wrote, according to Reuters. “This checking account has been ‘locked’ by the fraud department for almost three months ... Now her debts are delinquent and mortgage about to go into foreclosure.”
Reuters noted that none of Wells Fargo’s biggest rivals reported having similar problems or inquiries by regulators in their most recent quarterly filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “We continue to work with our regulator on this matter. 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 spokesman Kristopher Dahl said in an email to Reuters.
The CFPB declined to comment to Reuters.