Warren wants answers from Wells Fargo on closed-account fees

Register now

Sen. Elizabeth Warren. D-Mass., is demanding that Wells Fargo explain a report that accounts closed by consumers had been keep active and as a result triggered overdraft fees.

Warren, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, wrote in a letter Monday to acting Wells CEO Allen Parker that the San Francisco bank is “still fundamentally broken” years after its fake-accounts scandal in 2016 despite promises to improve risk management.

"These new revelations raise grave concerns that despite these assurances, Wells Fargo is still fundamentally broken and has not only continued to scam customers out of thousands of dollars with impunity, but has even targeted customers who were attempting to leave the bank — and may have been victims of previous scams — to unfairly collect one final set of lucrative fees for Wells Fargo," Warren wrote in the letter.

The New York Times reported last week that Wells routinely kept accounts open even though consumers had acted to close them. Customers had transferred their money out of the bank, but their accounts still accrued overdraft fees, the paper reported.

Warren asked that Parker respond to questions about the incident by Sept. 3 and that her staff be briefed on the matter no later than Sept. 12. Warren also wants Wells to waive supervisory privilege so she and her staff can obtain information about the latest incident from federal regulators.

Warren wrote that other banks typically stop all transactions when an account is closed.

"This new report suggests that rather than truly committing itself to vital reforms, Wells Fargo is still scamming customers, charging them fees on accounts they thought were closed," Warren wrote. "This greed has boosted the company's bottom line, but left customers with lasting negative effects."

Wells did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this article.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.