Bank Regulation

Wells Fargo Finds 1.4M Fake Accounts Bringing Total To 3.5M

Wells Fargo revealed Thursday (Aug. 31) that the fake account scandal that has plagued the company  affected 67 percent more customers than previously reported.

In a press release announcing the conclusion of an expanded inquiry into how many fake accounts were open on unwitting consumers and small businesses, the company said the number of fake accounts jumped to 3.5 million from its past estimate of 2.1 million. The increase in fake accounts that were identified was due to the bank’s use of a third party to analyze the scope of the scandal. The third party found 1.4 million new accounts that were opened potentially without the blessing of the customers.

“The original account analysis reviewed 93.5 million current and former customer accounts opened in an approximately four and half year time period – from May 2011 through mid-2015 – and identified approximately 2.1 million potentially unauthorized accounts. The expanded analysis reviewed more than 165 million retail banking accounts opened over a nearly eight-year period – from January 2009 through September 2016 – and identified a new total of approximately 3.5 million potentially unauthorized consumer and small business accounts,” Wells Fargo said in the press release.

As a result of the increase in the number of fake accounts that were opened Wells Fargo also said it raised the number of accounts that had fees and charges as a reuslt to 190,000 from 130,000. To cover that, Wells Fargo said it will pay $2.8 million more in refunds and credits. That’s on top of the $3.3 million it already said it would refund to customers. The bank is also refunding $910,000 in charges to the roughly 528,000 customers who were enrolled in bill payment without granting their permission to do so.

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