Sep 13 2016

AL.com: Wells Fargo fake accounts: Richard Shelby to hold Senate hearings

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, is set to hold committee hearings probing Wells Fargo about how more than 2 million credit card and bank accounts were opened in the names of the bank's customers.

Wells Fargo, which has the third-largest presence of any bank in Alabama, has fired 5,300 employees that it said were responsible for the fraud since 2011, and the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Thursday that it would fine the bank $185 million after it was determined Wells Fargo workers opened 565,000 credit card and 1.5 million bank accounts in some of its customers' names. The accounts were allegedly opened up by employees under pressure by managers to meet sales quotas. Affected customers were charged fees for maintaining the accounts, overdraft charges and other surcharges as a result of the fraud, leading Wells Fargo to pay $2.6 million to customers in compensation.

Alabama customers say they've had accounts opened without their knowledge or permission, but Wells Fargo isn't releasing a geographic breakdown of the scandal.

Members of Wells Fargo's government relations staff met with Shelby's Banking Committee staff last week as the CFPB announced the fine, according to the senator's office. The senator came to the decision to hold hearings Monday night after hearing back from his committee staff.

Earlier Monday, Democratic members of the committee urged Shelby to hold hearings on the issue.

"We should accept nothing less than a full and transparent explanation of what went wrong, who is responsible, how to fix it, and how to prevent such fraud in the future," Democrats wrote to Shelby, according to The Hill