We all remember that nastiness about Wells Fargo, right? You know, that little PR debacle where it turned out that, due to unrealistic sales initiatives, Wells Fargo employees initiated accounts fraud against millions of consumers.
After the story broke, Wells Fargo lost a major vote of consumer confidence. The following weeks saw many customers closing accounts and executives getting raked over the coals, culminating in the resignation of the CEO and a large scale termination of employees who had participated in accounts fraud.
Finally, it seemed the dust had settled. The banking giant was ordered to pay out $190 million in federal fines and reparations to affected consumers. The bank also promised a change to corporate culture and initiatives, announcing an end to aggressive sales goals.
More Than Previously Expected
Now it looks like it’s going to take a lot more than they thought. According to a recent Reuters report, the number of individuals affected by the accounts fraud scandal is far more than previously expected. In fact, it’s nearly double the initial figure.
What was once nearly 2 million unauthorized account creations has now ballooned into 3.5 million.
While the recent estimate is based on new case discoveries and hearings, Wells Fargo attorneys claim that it is largely “hypothetical” and “unverified”. Attorneys representing plaintiffs concur that it may be “over-inclusive”, but that the estimation provides a reasonable base for total compensation to plaintiffs.
Can a Settlement Be Reached?
Understandably, Wells Fargo has been keen to settle the matter. The big bank’s attorneys have already increased its initial settlement figures from $110 million to $142 million to account for more-than-expected numbers of affected accounts.
Preventing Future Accounts Fraud
The best method of preventing becoming a victim to accounts fraud is through awareness and education. Don’t be intimidated by big banks. You have the right to financial security. Make sure you regularly review all current accounts and monthly statements with any financial institution.
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