Wells Fargo, already struggling to rebuild its reputation after a scandal over the creation of fraudulent bank accounts, signaled on Friday that it could have more bad news coming.
The bank said in a regulatory filing that its review of potentially unauthorized accounts could reveal a “significant increase” in the number of accounts involved, up from the 2.1 million that it previously estimated. Wells Fargo said it had expanded its investigation to add three years to its review period, which covered accounts opened from 2011 to mid-2015.
But Wells Fargo also indicated that it has a new regulatory issue looming: an investigation by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau into whether customers were harmed by the bank’s practice of freezing, and in some cases closing, bank accounts suspected of being affected by fraudulent activity.
That scandal came as the bank is still dealing with the fallout from its fake account scandal, which saw the bank fined $185 million for more than 5,000 of the bank’s former employees opening more than 2 million potentially unauthorized accounts to get sales bonuses.
The bank is also nearing a $142 million settlement in a class action lawsuit brought by the customers affected by the fake accounts.
And now, just seven days after disclosing the force-placed auto insurance issue, Wells Fargo announced that it agreed to pay $108 million to the federal government to settle allegations that the bank overcharged military veterans for refinance loans.
Specifically, the issue relates to a lawsuit from 2006 that claimed some Department of Veterans Affairs Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans originated by Wells Fargo should not have been eligible for VA guarantees due to the bank allegedly collecting unauthorized fees with the loans.
The suit was filed in 2006 and unsealed in 2011, and sought compensation for the government over claims paid by the VA after those loans defaulted.