Wells Fargo is facing hard-hitting consequences for the irresponsible actions of thousands of employees involved with opening over one million unauthorized accounts.
The conclusion of a lengthy investigation launched when large numbers of customers began complaining about bank fees assessed to accounts they hadn't opened has resulted in the firing of nearly 5,300 employees dating back to 2011. According to CNN Money, federal regulators determined on Thursday that the employees' opening of millions of bank and credit card accounts without customers' knowledge resulted in a sales boost for the bank, while also earning them more money through unwarranted bank fees associated with the unauthorized accounts.
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"Wells Fargo employees secretly opened unauthorized accounts to hit sales targets and receive bonuses," Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray said in a statement. The CFPB also confirmed that some employees went as far as creating fake pin numbers and e-mail addresses to enroll unsuspecting customers in online banking.
As a result of the finds, Wells Fargo will be required to pay a total of $185 million in fines and $5 million in refund payments to customers victimized by the unauthorized account openings. To date, Wells Fargo has the highest market valuation of any financial institution in the U.S., with a worth of just over $250 billion.