Wells Fargo increases fake account estimate to 3.5M

By Sara Shayanian  |  Aug. 31, 2017 at 11:55 AM
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Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Wells Fargo bank on Thursday increase its estimate of the number of fake accounts it's uncovered to 3.5 million -- nearly double the amount it originally found when the scandal erupted last year.

The bank said in a news release that the initial analysis spanned between 2011 and 2015 and uncovered 2.1 million unauthorized accounts. However, an expanded analysis of the accounts going back to 2009 and ending last year has raised that number to 3.5 million accounts.

This new information may put Wells Fargo back under political fire after last year's slew of congressional hearings. Wells Fargo was forced to expand their account analysis after lawmakers pressured the company into changing their leadership and retail division and lowering executive salaries.

Isaac Boltansky, an analyst with Compass Point Research & Trading, told Bloomberg, "New data should cause some lawmakers to re-engage on the issue."

The new review also uncovered 528,000 potentially unauthorized online bill pay enrollments. Wells Fargo noted in the statement that this specifically included those with "only one minimum payment and no further use of the service."

Wells Fargo plans on refunding $910,000 for fees and charges to affected customers.

A bank spokesman, Oscar Suris, told Bloomberg that Wells Fargo has no other reviews planned as they focus on minimizing the impact of the new analysis and attempt to focus on refunding customers.

Lawyers representing customers in a lawsuit against the bank, Jabbari v. Wells Fargo, note that the new analysis doesn't go as far back as it should, with bank employees creating fake accounts as far back as 2002.

Wells Fargo will soon give final approval to a $142 million settlement for the case.

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