The numbers at the heart of the scandal at Wells Fargo (WFC) are staggering. Over 5,300 employees were fired for creating millions of accounts without customers’ permission, under intense corporate pressure to meet high sales targets.
Zoomed out to a massive scale like this, and with lawmakers focused on finding and chewing out the higher-ups who might be responsible, it’s easy to forget this fraud ensnared actual human beings.
Yahoo Finance spoke to a few of them to get their stories about their relationships with Wells Fargo, and how they learned they had accounts created without their knowledge or permission. We also learned about what it was like to deal with credit bureaus to make sure the bogus accounts didn’t blemish their credit reports.
A surprise $30,000 line of credit
Take Micheline Maynard, a journalist and author based in Boston, one of the millions of Wells Fargo victims. “The only contact I’d ever had with Wells Fargo was when the bank briefly owned the mortgage on the house that I was selling,” Maynard told Yahoo Finance.
Unbeknownst to her, she said, that brief interaction with Wells Fargo had resulted in a $30,000 line of credit created in her name. When she was in the financing process of relocating to Boston from Michigan, her mortgage broker called and said one of the underwriters had raised concerns over the amount of outstanding lines of credit in her name. “It was the first I’d heard of it,” she said.
After this shock, Maynard calmed down and went to action, doing all the right things. First, she checked her credit report to see for herself. Sure enough, there was a $30,000 line of credit in her name. She called Wells Fargo’s customer service department, which apologized and closed the account. Then, she followed up with the credit reporting agencies, asking them to include notes explaining the situation.