The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) terminated a 2015 consent order against Wells Fargo, reducing to nine, at last count, the number of enforcement actions under which the bank is operating.
The OCC issued the 2015 order for what it called unfair billing practices related to various third-party identity theft protection and debt cancellation products Wells Fargo sold to customers between 2004 and 2014. The bank charged some customers the full fee for the products even though they did not receive all of the credit monitoring services the products offered, according to the OCC.
“Wells Fargo’s top priority is building a risk and control infrastructure appropriate for its size and complexity,” the bank said in a statement Thursday, after the OCC posted its notice of termination, signed in December. “The termination of the 2015 consent order is a step in this work, as the company continues to focus on resolving legacy regulatory issues.”
Shortly after joining Wells Fargo in late 2019, CEO Charlie Scharf said his “primary focus” was “advancing our required regulatory work with a different sense of urgency and resolve, while beginning to develop a path to improve our financial results.”
He reinforced last week, during the bank’s fourth-quarter earnings call, that Wells Fargo’s regulatory recovery would be a “multiyear effort.”
The bank had 12 enforcement actions at the start of Scharf’s tenure. The OCC terminated a separate 2015 Wells Fargo consent order in January 2021. And the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in September, let a 2016 enforcement action expire. The OCC, however, fined the bank $250 million, also last September, for violating a 2018 consent order, in addition to persistent problems in its mortgage unit.
The termination comes after Wells Fargo compensated the customers harmed by the products cited in the 2015 order, which the bank said it stopped selling in 2017. However, the bank did not disclose the number of customers affected or the total cost of remediation.
The order pre-dates Wells Fargo’s 2016 fake-accounts scandal, which ties into several of the bank’s remaining enforcement actions — the most impactful of which may be a $1.95 trillion asset cap the Federal Reserve imposed on Wells in 2018.