Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the United States, has had a complicated history with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB is a federal agency established in 2010 to protect consumers from harmful financial practices.
In 2016, the CFPB fined Wells Fargo $185 million for creating over 2 million fake accounts by bank employees to meet sales quotas. The bank was also fined an additional $35 million by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and $50 million by the City and County of Los Angeles. The scandal resulted in the resignation of CEO John G. Stumpf and sparked public outrage.
Following the fake account scandal, the CFPB has continued to investigate and fine Wells Fargo for various other practices, including improperly charging customers for auto insurance and mortgage rate-lock extension fees. In 2018, the CFPB ordered Wells Fargo to pay $1 billion for misconduct in its auto and mortgage lending businesses and $500 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Wells Fargo has also been the subject of a CFPB enforcement action related to the bank’s debt collection practices. In 2019, the CFPB ordered Wells Fargo to pay $3 billion for improperly collecting credit card debt from customers and for illegally foreclosing on homeowners who were protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
The bank has also been criticized for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the CFPB ordered Wells Fargo to pay $10 million for failing to provide accurate information to homeowners seeking mortgage assistance under the CARES Act.
Despite these fines and enforcement actions, Wells Fargo remains one of the United States’ largest banks.