Wells Fargo Customers: Part of $575M Settlement May Be Yours
New Jersey will receive nearly $17 million of a $575 settlement with Wells Fargo over a decade's worth of improper banking practices.
In addition, as part of the settlement with all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Wells Fargo has agreed to implement a program "through which consumers who believe they were affected by the bank's conduct, but fell outside the prior restitution programs, can contact Wells Fargo to be reviewed for potential redress," New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said in a statement announcing New Jersey's share of the settlement.
In other words: If you were cheated by shady business practices at Wells Fargo and haven't gotten restitution yet, you still could.
More information on the redress review program will be made available by Feb. 26.
Wells Fargo was accused of practices including opening unauthorized accounts, enrolling customers into online banking services without their knowledge, improperly referring customers to third-party renters and life insurance policies, improperly charging auto loan customers for unnecessary collateral protection insurance and incorrectly charging customers for mortgage rate-lock extension fees.
"To date, this settlement represents the most significant engagement involving a national bank by state attorneys general acting without a federal law enforcement partner," Grewal's office said.
It also said the company had "identified more than 3.5 million accounts where customer accounts were opened, funds were transferred, credit card applications were filed, and debit cards were issued without the customers’ knowledge or consent."
California, the bank's home state, will get more than a quarter of the $575 million settlement funds because of the number of Wells Fargo customers residing there.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra called the bank's behavior "disgraceful".
"Wells Fargo customers entrusted their bank with their livelihood, their dreams, and their savings for the future," said Becerra. "Instead of safeguarding its customers, Wells Fargo exploited them, signing them up for products - from bank accounts to insurance - that they never wanted. This is an incredible breach of trust that threatens not only the customers who depended on Wells Fargo, but confidence in our banking system."
The bank has been under a cloud since 2015 when it acknowledged that employees had opened millions of fake bank accounts for customers in order to meet sales goals. Wells Fargo has already been ordered to pay more than $1.2 billion in penalties and faced stricter regulations.