In the wake of one banking scandal after another over the past ten years, it can be easy for the news regarding wrongdoing at our nation’s largest financial institutions to become a blur, but the egregious actions that have come to light at Wells Fargo in the past year have become front-page news across the country. And for good reason, as thousands of Wells Fargo employees engaged in systematic wrongdoing over many years, opening millions of accounts in customers’ names without authorization, causing seemingly endless financial problems for customers including unjustified overdraft fees and damaged credit scores, all in the name of enriching the bank.
The bank initially blamed 5,300 of its employees for the wrongdoing, although the bank’s CEO stepped down in October (with a $133 million payday) after the federal government finally scrutinized the bank’s practices, despite receiving customer complaints regarding the fraudulent practices since 2011. Although the news of the widespread misdeeds victimizing bank consumers at Wells Fargo only became national front-page news in the past year, the bank’s history of fraudulent overdraft practices goes back many years and were in fact the subject of a 2010 class action brought against the bank which resulted in a $203 million victory for California consumers.
The Wells Fargo Practices at Issue in the 2010 Class Action
In a class action brought by McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP against Wells Fargo and initially decided in 2010, the bank was hit with a $203 million verdict on behalf of California consumers victimized by the bank’s fraudulent scheme to inflate the number of overdraft fees that would be charged against the consumers who chose to entrust their money with Wells Fargo.
Through the scheme – which in the bank’s own words was “engineered” to increase the bank’s profits through accumulation of overdraft fees, which were generally $30 or more per fee – the bank changed the way that it deducted ATM and debit transactions from a customer’s account on a daily basis such that the customer would incur the maximum amount of overdraft fees. For example, if a customer had ten transactions on a given day, and only one of which might have incurred an overdraft fee under the previous system, the bank’s new system was “engineered” so that the transactions would be processed in an order guaranteed to maximize the number of overdraft fees, potentially up to 10 for that given customer on that given day. The bank also instituted practices to ensure that customers would not be made aware when their account was overdrafted, so that rather than declining the transaction, the bank would authorize the overdraft without the customer being notificated, again in the name of maximizing the overdraft fees that the bank could charge on its customers.
Through McCune Wright Arevalo’s actions in bringing the class action, the bank’s fraudulent business practices were brought to light in federal court and $203 million was recovered for California consumers injured by the practices instituted at Wells Fargo. Seeking Justice for Customers
Who Continue to Be Victimized by Wells Fargo
McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, the Inland Empire class action firm that successfully brought the 2010 class action against Wells Fargo, continues to seek justice on behalf of consumers who have been victimized by the bank’s illegal and fraudulent overdraft practices on ATM and debit card transactions.
If you have been charged overdraft fees on ATM or debit card transactions, and you have reason to suspect Wells Fargo employees failed to provide you with required information or obtain your consent to charge you overdraft program fees or were pressured to provide affirmative consent, McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP is here to help determine whether you have a claim and to seek justice on your behalf. We are especially interested in talking with customers who opened a new account in a branch in the last two years. We look forward to helping you obtain the financial recovery you may be owed. Contact our office today at (909) 345-8110 or take a few minutes to fill out the online contact form.