Regulation

Regulators Give Wells Fargo’s Top Examiner The Boot

The lead regulator for U.S. banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, removed Wells Fargo’s most senior bank examiner, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Bradley Linskens was reportedly removed from his position as a result of the bank’s unauthorized accounts scandal that surfaced last year. According to Reuters, Linskens began oversight at Wells Fargo back in 2006 and was responsible for day-to-day supervision of the financial institution.

In September, Wells Fargo reached a $190 million settlement with the Comptroller of the Currency after employees trying to meet aggressive internal sales targets applied for about 565,000 cards, as well as $1.5 million deposit accounts, allegedly without receiving customer consent. Those consumers then racked up annual fees and other charges on cards about which they knew nothing.

Wells Fargo recently came to a $110 million settlement with customers whose personal information their staff used to set up fake bank and credit card accounts. The latest deal will close dozens of lawsuits that have been filed across the country against the bank.

“We want to ensure that each customer impacted by our sales practices issue has every opportunity for remediation, and this agreement presents an additional option,” Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer Timothy Sloan said in a statement. “We continue to encourage customers to contact us directly so that we can act quickly to refund fees and address any concerns.”

Despite Wells Fargo’s efforts to leave the notorious scandal in the past, federal officials are refusing to let the bank off the hook so soon.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency accused Wells Fargo of an “extensive and pervasive pattern” of discriminatory and illegal lending practices for years. Notably, most of the cases referred to by the OCC had already been announced and, in some cases, were over a decade old. The OCC also lowered its overall score of Wells Fargo’s compliance with community banking laws to “needs to improve.”

Maxine Waters, U.S. Representative of California and the House Financial Services’ ranking member, recently sent a letter requesting that Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan and other senior officials at the company provide answers to questions concerning the bank’s scandal.

It’s clear the consequences of the bank’s scandal aren’t going away any time soon.

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