OCC terminates Wells Fargo consent order from 2015

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) terminated a 2015 Wells Fargo consent order, reducing to nine, at last count, the number of enforcement actions under which the bank operates.

The OCC issued the 2015 order for what it called unfair billing practices related to various third-party Wells Fargo identity theft protection and debt cancellation products sold to customers between 2004 and 2014. The bank charged some customers full fees for the products even though they did not receive all of the credit monitoring services offered by the products, according to the OCC.

“Wells Fargo’s top priority is to build a risk and control infrastructure commensurate with its size and complexity,” the bank said in a statement Thursday, after the OCC released its Notice of Termination, signed in December. “The termination of the 2015 consent order is a step in that 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 goal” was to “move our required regulatory work forward with a different sense of urgency and resolve, while beginning to develop a way to improve our financial results”.

He confirmed last week during the bank’s fourth quarter earnings call that Wells Fargo’s regulatory recovery would be a “multi-year effort.”

The bank had 12 enforcement actions at the start of Scharf’s tenure. The OCC terminated a separate Wells Fargo consent order from 2015 in January 2021. And the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in September allowed an enforcement action from 2016 to expire. The OCC, however, imposed a fined the bank $250 million, also last September, for breaching a 2018 consent order, in addition to ongoing problems in its mortgage unit.

The termination comes after Wells Fargo compensated customers harmed by the products named 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 predates the 2016 Wells Fargo fake account scandal, which is tied to several of the bank’s remaining enforcement actions — the most impactful of which may be a $1.95 trillion asset cap that the Federal Reserve imposed on Wells in 2018.