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HousingWire Magazine: December 2021/ January 2022

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Mortgage

Wells Fargo guarantees all fake account customers will be fully compensated

Settlement could exceed $142 million

Wells Fargo now has another potential scandal on its hands, as the bank stands accused of making unauthorized changes to the mortgages of borrowers in bankruptcy, but the bank is a long way from being able to put its fake account scandal in the rearview mirror.

Last month, an judge warned that Wells Fargo’s proposed $142 million settlement in the class action lawsuit brought on behalf of the bank’s customers who had a fake account opened in their name may not be enough money to compensate all the affected customers.

That came on the heels of Wells Fargo announcing that it increased its proposed settlement from $110 million to $142 million to cover anyone who had a fake account opened in their name stretching back to 2002.

In May, the judge overseeing the settlement said that he would not approve the settlement unless Wells Fargo could guaranteed that all of those affected customers would be fully compensated.

Now, it appears that Wells Fargo has done exactly that.

According to a new report from the Los Angeles Times, Wells Fargo said that it will guarantee that all of the affected customers will be repaid in full and fully compensated for any damage done to their financial records and credit scores.

And that could mean that $142 million isn’t enough.

Here’s more from the Los Angeles Times report:

(The guarantee) could mean the San Francisco bank will end up shelling out substantially more than the $142 million it previously had agreed to pay to settle the multiple lawsuits. A federal judge had said he would not approve the deal without such a guarantee, prompting Wells Fargo to accede to that and a handful of other changes the judge demanded.

Now, the number could grow further, with the bank making an open-ended commitment to pay more than $142 million if it turns out that amount won’t be enough to cover victims’ out-of-pocket losses. The bank had resisted making such a compensation guarantee, with its attorney arguing at a hearing last month that it could result in the bank’s having to pay customers who never suffered losses.

A spokesperson said that the bank believes that $142 million will be enough to compensate all of the affected customers, but said that the bank is committed to “making things right.”

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