By KEN SWEET , AP Business Writer NEW YORK (AP) 09/01 — The scope of Wells Fargo’s fake accounts scandal grew significantly on Thursday, with the bank now saying that 3.5 million accounts were potentially opened without customers’ permission between 2009 and 2016.
New managers have been trying to amends with customers, politicians and the public.
But it’s been tough, as new revelations keep coming. Wells Fargo said last month that roughly 570,000 customers were signed up for and billed for car insurance that they didn’t need or necessarily know about. Many couldn’t afford the extra costs and fell behind in their payments, and in about 20,000 cases, cars were repossessed.
Other customers have filed lawsuits against Wells Fargo saying they were victims of unfair overdraft practices. Wells Fargo is also still under several investigations for its sales practices problems, including a congressional inquiry and one by the Justice Department.
Wells Fargo said Thursday that of the 3.5 million accounts potentially opened without permission, 190,000 of those incurred fees and charges. That’s up from 130,000 that the bank originally said. Wells Fargo will refund $2.8 million to customers, in addition to the $3.3 million it already agreed to pay.
In addition, San Francisco-based Wells admitted that 528,000 customers were likely signed up for online bill payment without authorization. It’ll refund $910,000 in fees to those customers.
Since last fall, Wells has changed its sales practices, ousted other executives and called tens of millions of customers to check on whether they truly opened the accounts.
“To rebuild trust and to build a better Wells Fargo, our first priority is to make things right for our customers, and the completion of this expanded third-party analysis is an important milestone,” Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan said in a statement.
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