Alaska customers caught up in Wells Fargo bank scandal

Published: Sep. 29, 2016 at 5:07 PM AKDT
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Alaska consumers are among those caught up in a bank scandal at Wells Fargo.

A San Francisco-based spokesman for the bank said Thursday it could not rule out the possibility that 5,970 accounts were created in Alaska as part of the scandal.

“Although it was not confirmed that all of these accounts were unauthorized, 217 incurred fees, and we decided to err on the side of the customer and issued these potentially impacted customers a refund, which on average was $25 per account,” said Ruben Pulido, vice president, corporate communications.

Wells Fargo takes the issue seriously and “has made fundamental changes over the past three years to ensure that customers receive only the products and services they want and value, and customer satisfaction is high,” he said.

As of Oct. 1, Wells Fargo has announced the elimination of sales targets in retail banking.

Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $185 million to settle allegations that the bank's workers opened millions of accounts without customers' permission to reach aggressive sales targets, according to the Associated Press.

On Thursday, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf told lawmakers the bank is expanding its review back to 2009 as it tries to stem a scandal over sales practices.

AP reported that Stumpf reiterated that he was "deeply sorry," as he spoke before the House Financial Services Committee.

At the Senate Banking Committee last week, representatives on both side of the aisle expressed outrage.

Stumpf cited the compensation he must return and noted new leadership at the retail bank business and the accelerated elimination of sales goals. He also said no executives above the branch manager level appeared to be aware of the misconduct, according to AP.

Kevin Anselm, director of Alaska's Division of Banking and Securities, said because Wells Fargo is not a state-regulated bank she had no information about how many Alaskans may have been affected by the scandal. The bank is regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency within the U.S. Department of Treasury, Anselm said.

"If customers would like to review their accounts with us, we invite them to come to a branch or call the phone number located on their statement or the back of their card," Pulido said.