Beshear secures nearly $2.8 Million for Kentucky in Wells Fargo settlement
Attorney General Andy Beshear has secured nearly $2.8 million for Kentucky from a settlement with banking giant Wells Fargo over alleged unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Kentucky’s $2.8 million, part of a $575 million multistate settlement with all 50 states, will be placed into the state’s General Fund for lawmakers to appropriate during the 2020 legislative budget session.
As part of the settlement, Wells Fargo will create a consumer redress review program through which consumers who have not been made whole through current restitution programs can seek review of their inquiry or complaint by a bank escalation team for possible relief.
The settlement resolves claims that Wells Fargo violated Kentucky consumer protection laws. Beshear and the states allege the bank imposed aggressive and unrealistic sales goals on bank employees, and implemented an incentive compensation program where employees could qualify for credit by selling certain products to customers.
It’s alleged that bank employees opened millions of unauthorized accounts and enrolled customers into online banking services without their knowledge or consent; improperly referred customers for enrollment in third-party renters and life insurance policies; improperly charged auto loan customers for force-placed and unnecessary collateral protection insurance; failed to ensure that customers received refunds of unearned premiums on certain optional auto finance products; and incorrectly charged customers for mortgage rate lock extension fees.
“The settlement represents the most significant enforcement against a national bank conducted solely by state attorneys general,” Beshear said. “The nearly $2.8 million we secured is a sizable amount for our General Fund, and could be used for important causes such as new textbooks for our school children.”
As part of its settlement with the states, Wells Fargo has agreed to implement within 60 days a program through which Kentuckians who believe they were affected by the bank’s conduct, but fall outside of any prior restitution programs, can contact Wells Fargo to be reviewed for potential compensation.
Wells Fargo will create and maintain a website for consumers to use to access the program and will provide periodic reports to Beshear’s office about ongoing restitution efforts.
More information on the restitution review program, including Wells Fargo escalation phone numbers and the Wells Fargo dedicated website address for the program, will be available on or before Feb. 26, 2019.
Beshear’s office will post this information its website at http://www.ag.ky.gov
(provided by Office of the Attorney General)