It has to be considered a banking scandal of epic proportions. After a lengthy investigation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has handed down record fines and penalties of $100 million dollars levied against Wells Fargo Bank.
These fine were levied as a result of 5,300 Wells Fargo employees opening hundreds of thousands of unauthorized bank accounts and credit cards on behalf of existing customers, who had no idea their information was being misused. In addition to these fines, Wells Fargo was also hit with another $85 million in penalties handed down by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and County of Los Angeles.
The scandal was developed by a group of employees who were using these unauthorized accounts to help meet sales quotas and generate rewards for meeting team and individual goals. As a result of their actions, all 5,300 of the employees involved in the scandal were fired.
This situation was exacerbated by the fact Wells Fargo failed to properly inform customers that their information had been used to create and fund these accounts. In what seems to be an attempt to minimize the issue and detract from the bank’s own failures, Well Fargo released the following statement.
“It is important to understand the context, the 5 year period involved and the size of our workforce,” a Wells Fargo spokesperson said in a statement. “The actions we have taken with respect to team members and managers reflect our commitment to monitoring and addressing any inappropriate sales conduct. On an annual basis, more than 100,000 team members worked in our stores, and the number terminated represents about one percent of this workforce over the five year period.
“While we regret every interaction that was not handled properly, the number of instances and team members involved represent a very small portion of our business.”