Santander puts another regulatory matter behind it

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Santander Bank in Boston has been released from a 2015 consent order issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency tied to problems with an identity theft product, the bank said Wednesday.

It is one of several regulatory headaches the $74.5 billion-asset Santander and its parent company have put to bed lately.

“We are resolving legacy issues and running Santander US at high operating standards,” Scott Powell, CEO of Santander Holdings USA, said in a press release. “We look forward to operating with greater freedom as we continue building trust with new and existing customers.”

In the consent order in question, the OCC said Santander violated a section of the Federal Trade Commission Act in how it billed some customers of a legacy identity protection product, Sovereign Identity Protector. From 2010 to 2014, the bank billed customers of the product for services they did not receive and enrolled some customers in the product multiple times without providing them anything extra for the additional fees, the OCC had said in that order.

The OCC ordered Santander to establish a compliance committee, which was to then report back to the regulator with a written plan for addressing the problems. The regulator also imposed a $6 million civil money penalty.

The U.S. units of the Spanish banking giant Banco Santander have had to correct a number of regulatory missteps.

Most recently, Santander Holdings was released from a 2015 written agreement with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, which ordered the company to strengthen its compliance and risk management functions. That agreement applied to the entire holding company, including Santander Consumer USA Holdings in Dallas and its other subsidiaries.

And this past spring, Santander Bank regained a passing Community Reinvestment Act score, which will allow it to open new branches, accept public deposits and engage in bank M&A.

Santander Holdings still has in place a written agreement with the Federal Reserve, dated from 2017, requiring the company to strengthen its oversight of Santander Consumer, its subprime auto lending unit.

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