Last September Wells Fargo agreed to pay $185 million to settle three government lawsuits over the bank’s creation of fake accounts. Thousands of employees, trying to meet aggressive sales goals, created accounts in customers’ names without their knowledge. Workers who did not meet goals risked losing their jobs, while those who did meet their sales goals received bonuses.
At the time, Wells Fargo said that 2.1 million suspect accounts had been opened from 2011 to 2015, but it also acknowledged that the problems may have started earlier. The bank said it would expand the review to include accounts open from 2009 to 2011.
Last month the bank reported finding 1.4 million more accounts, bringing the number to approximately 3.5 million fraudulent accounts – nearly 70 percent more than the bank’s initial estimate. The bank has since released that 528,000 customers have been enrolled in the bank’s online bill payment service without authorization. The bank stated it will issue $910,000 to customers who incurred fees or charges, as a result.
“We are working hard to ensure this never happens again and to build a better bank for the future,” Timothy J. Sloan, Wells Fargo’s chief executive, said in a statement announcing the review’s results.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, released a statement saying, “Unbelievable. Wells Fargo’s massive fraud is even worse than we thought.”
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