On Thursday, Wells Fargo revealed that an independent review of the company's records found that an additional 1.4 million potentially unauthorized accounts were created as the bank's employees scrambled to meet lofty sales goals. The bank had conducted an internal review of its accounts after revealing the fake account scandal last year.
The new, external estimate covered a wider window of time than the bank's review and increases the initial tally by 67 percent; nearly 3.5 million unauthorized accounts are now thought to have been opened between 2009 and 2016. The outside firm also found that 190,000 of those fake accounts incurred fees and damages, an increase from the bank's initial estimate of 130,000, and that 528,000 customers were signed up for online bill payment without their permission.
Wells Fargo will refund $2.8 million to customers affected by the charges, on top of the $3.3 million the bank has already agreed to pay. The bank will refund $910,000 in fees to customers affected by the unauthorized online bill payment enrollments. In addition to its refunds to affected customers, Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $142 million to settle a class-action suit and $185 million to regulators.
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"Today's announcement is a reminder of the disappointment that we caused to our customers and stakeholders," Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan said Thursday. "We apologize to everyone who was harmed by unacceptable sales practices that occurred in our retail bank."
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