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Wells Fargo: Not out of the woods yet

More than five years after succumbing to one of the biggest consumer abuse scandals in history, Wells Fargo still faces significant regulatory challenges.

In September, Wells Fargo confirmed the expiry of a 2016 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau consent order over its fake-account sales practices. That followed the termination in January of a consent order from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in January 2021, concerning its anti-money laundering compliance programme.

The good news was short lived, however. The lifting of the CFPB order merely served to mitigate a separate $250 million OCC fine, announced the very next day. In this latest penalty, the OCC pointed to failures in Wells’ home-lending loss-mitigation programme and violations of a separate 2018 OCC consent order on Wells’ compliance risks.

Meanwhile, later in September, the bank agreed to pay $72.6 million to settle a New York fraud suit brought by the federal government. As part of that settlement, Wells admitted to overcharging hundreds of commercial customers for foreign exchange between 2010 and 2017.

Charles Scharf

All this has weighed somewhat on hopes for an imminent lifting of the most important consent order, from the Federal Reserve.

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