Wells Fargo reveals up to 1.4 million more fake accounts

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A Wells Fargo branch is seen in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, U.S. on February 10, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young/File Photo (Copyright Reuters 2017)

Wells Fargo (WFC) on Thursday disclosed that its fake accounts scandal affected up to 3.5 million customers in total, far more than the 2.1 million accounts it previously said were possibly opened without customers’ knowledge.

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The San Francisco-based bank first acknowledged in September 2016 that employees opened scores of unauthorized accounts since 2011. It subsequently revamped its pay structure and eliminated sales goals, moving away from policies that encouraged branch employees to open multiple accounts for customers. After news reports indicated that the problem dated back to 2009, Wells Fargo launched a new review of account data.

Wells Fargo said the third-party review revealed up to 1.4 million additional fake accounts, and the total number of accounts that incurred fees and charges grew to 190,000. The bank will provide another $2.8 million in refunds and credits on top of the $3.3 million it already refunded to affected customers.

Also, Wells Fargo said 528,000 customers were enrolled in its online bill pay service without signing up for it. Those customers will receive a combined $910,000 in refunds.

“We apologize to everyone who was harmed by unacceptable sales practices that occurred in our retail bank,” Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan said in a statement.

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Wells Fargo recently settled a class-action lawsuit for $142 million, and a federal judge preliminarily approved the agreement in July. The lawsuit covered allegations of fake accounts opened since 2002.

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