Wells Fargo, the third largest bank in the United States, is facing a potential, record-breaking fine for consumer abuses. Reuters reports the bank is being targeted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for altering mortgage contracts without consumer consent and forcing drivers to buy auto insurance they didn’t need.
The historic company is still reeling from the September 2016 scandal which revealed employees had fabricated 3.5 million bank accounts for customers without consent. The strict sales goals Wells Fargo inforced eventually landed it with a $100 million fine from the CFPB and another $85 million to other authorities, according to CNBC.com reports.
The bank broke the record for the largest penalty sum ever by the CFPB. Reuters sources divulged that Mick Mulvaney, head of the CFPB, is eying to hand down a penalty that dwarfs the 2016 fine and addresses both the auto insurance and mortgage abuse. Reuters noted this number could possibly reach $1 billion dollars.
The move to penalize Wells Fargo signals worries for their employees and shareholders but promises the health of the CFPB. Nick Mulvaney spoke at an industry meeting last month warning, “I think you’re being naive if you think their aren’t folks out there who are breaking consumer protection laws.” Consumer protection laws are necessary for a free-market exchange that holds even the biggest corporations accountable when they mislead, defraud, or outright rob the American people. All in all, there’s a tough road ahead for the company who has destroyed its reputation both in the eyes of the public and government.