The daily business briefing: September 9, 2016

Wells Fargo to pay $185 million over unwanted accounts, Airbnb steps up anti-discrimination measures, and more

The Airbnb logo on an iPhone.
(Image credit: Carl Court/Getty Images)

1. Wells Fargo fined $185 million over illegally opened accounts

Federal regulators said Thursday that Wells Fargo & Co. would pay $185 million to settle complaints that bank workers opened deposit and credit-card accounts without customers' approval to meet sales targets. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said the bank opened more than 2 million such accounts. Wells Fargo fired 5,300 employees over the bogus sales. The CFPB's $100 million portion of the payments will be its largest fine ever. The rest of the money will go to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Los Angeles city attorney. The San Francisco-based bank will pay back customers for any fees associated with the accounts.


2. Airbnb enacts new anti-discrimination measures

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky unveiled the room-listing company's new anti-discrimination policy on Thursday. The move came after months of complaints and widespread criticism for allegations of racial and other bias on the platform. "Discrimination is the opposite of belonging, and its existence on our platform jeopardizes this core mission," Chesky wrote. "Bias and discrimination have no place on Airbnb, and we have zero tolerance for them." Chesky apologized for the company's "slow" response and said Airbnb was enacting several new anti-discrimination measures, including a new system for filing bias complaints.

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3. Mastercard hit with $19 billion lawsuit in U.K.

Former U.K. financial ombudsman Walter Merricks on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Mastercard in London demanding that the world's second largest credit and debit card issuer pay $19 billion in damages for allegedly charging excessive fees. The case, filed in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, could benefit tens of millions of customers. The suit says Mastercard charged stores unlawfully high fees for transactions that were passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices from 1992 to 2008. Mastercard said it "firmly disagree with the basis of this claim and we intend to oppose it vigorously."

USA Today Reuters

4. SpaceX begins investigation of launchpad explosion

SpaceX has started the investigation into what caused last week's massive explosion of one of its Falcon 9 rockets on a Cape Canaveral launchpad. Since there was no loss of life, FAA regulations say the private company — not federal investigators — will lead the inquiry. Tory Bruno, chief executive of SpaceX rival United Launch Alliance, said SpaceX rockets probably would be grounded for at least nine months until investigators determine why the rocket exploded in a routine prelaunch test, destroying the reusable Falcon 9 booster and the $200 million Israeli communications satellite it was to send into orbit. "It typically takes nine to 12 months for people to return to flight," Bruno said.

The Washington Post Reuters

5. Pokémon Go hits $500 million revenue milestone in record time

Pokémon Go has reached $500 million in worldwide revenue faster than any game app in history, according to a report released Thursday by App Annie. It took Pokémon Go just 60 days to reach the milestone. The haul, which includes customer spending on iOS and Android, was just the latest in a series of firsts for the wildly popular Nintendo game app, which was both the most downloaded app in its first week, and the fastest to reach 50 million installs on Google Play.


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