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Wells Fargo fined $85 million for abusive practices of thousands

$85 million to borrowers

The Federal Reserve Board has alleged that Wells Fargo employed deceptive mortgage practices, fraud and unsafe banking practices against thousands of borrowers and is issuing an $85 million fine, their largest ever consumer protection fine in Fed history.

The Fed says that “possibly more than 10,000” mortgage borrowers between 2004 and 2008 were pushed into higher cost loans when they would have qualified for lower rates and less expensive loans.

The fine for each individual case looks to be upward of $20,000 each as the Fed demanded that Wells Fargo fully compensate all customers that were cheated.

Where it all began

At the root of this major fine is “Wells Fargo Financial,” the subprime loan arm of Wells Fargo that was closed last year, with the Fed pointing to salespeople in this division as overly aggressive and commission driven. The group “altered or falsified income documents and inflated prospective borrowers’ incomes to qualify those borrowers for loans that they would not otherwise have been qualified to receive,” according to the Federal Reserve.

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The Wells Fargo Financial division sold high cost loans to those who easily qualified for lower cost loans.

Wells Fargo blames “small number of people” at bank

Because Wells Fargo estimates that of the 300,000 loans they made during that period, only an estimated 4% were abusive, the bank claims it was a small number of people that committed these abuses and the group doesn’t represent what Wells Fargo stands for.

Nonetheless, they will now be forced to work with the Fed to determine who the borrowers that were wronged are and appropriate compensation given.

Wells Fargo required to improve oversight

In a statement, the Fed said, “In addition to the monetary components of the settlement, Wells Fargo is required to improve oversight of its anti-fraud and compliance programs and incentive compensation and performance management policies for personnel who sell and underwrite home mortgage loans.”

16 employees banned from banking

The Fed noted that they have issued consent orders against 16 former Wells Fargo Financial sales personnel prohibiting them from becoming employed in the banking industry. The Fed said that they have “also issued a consent cease and desist order against another former Wells Fargo Financial sales person prohibiting future improper conduct.”

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Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Lynda

    July 27, 2011 at 7:14 am

    This was way over due…it goes back past 2000 and all should get rights to money..at least those who lost the home that was due to fraud..Audit all who were left with out a voice when they should of been heard! Justice!

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