Friday, July 28, 2017
Looks like Wells Fargo dropped another dookie
The new revelation about their banking practices involves the forced purchase of insurance upon borrowers of car loans. This follows upon the practice of opening unnecessary accounts and illegal adjustments to home loans in bankruptcy.
More than 800,000 people who took out car loans from Wells Fargo were charged for auto insurance they did not need, and some of them are still paying for it, according to an internal report prepared for the bank’s executives.Any other business outside of humongous banking would be slapped with RICO indictments up the wazoo for all this. At the very least, Well Fargo should have their banking license rescinded and its parts sold off to repay the damaged customers. Not gonna happen but a boy can dream.
The expense of the unneeded insurance, which covered collision damage, pushed roughly 274,000 Wells Fargo customers into delinquency and resulted in almost 25,000 wrongful vehicle repossessions, according to the 60-page report, which was obtained by The New York Times. Among the Wells Fargo customers hurt by the practice were military service members on active duty.
Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the United States, is struggling to repair its image after a scandal in which its employees created millions of credit card and bank accounts that customers had never requested. That crisis, which came to a head last year, toppled Wells Fargo’s chief executive and led to millions of dollars in fines.
The bank also stands accused of having made improper adjustments to the terms of the home loans of customers who were in bankruptcy, which Wells Fargo denies.
Asked about the findings on auto insurance, Wells Fargo officials confirmed that the improper insurance practices took place and said the bank was determined to make customers whole.
“We have a huge responsibility and fell short of our ideals for managing and providing oversight of the third-party vendor and our own operations,” Franklin R. Codel, the head of consumer lending at Wells Fargo, said in an interview. “We self-identified this issue, and we made the right business decisions to end the placement of the product.”
The report, which was prepared by the consulting firm Oliver Wyman, looked at insurance policies sold to Wells customers from January 2012 through July 2016. The insurance, which the bank required, was more expensive than auto insurance that customers often already had obtained on their own.
National General Insurance underwrote the policies for Wells Fargo, which began to require the insurance on auto loans as early as 2006. The practice continued until the end of September.
For borrowers, delinquencies arose quickly because of the way the bank charged for the insurance. Say, for example, that a customer agreed to a monthly payment of $275 in principal and interest on her car loan, and arranged for the amount to be deducted from her bank account automatically. If she were not advised about the insurance and it increased her monthly payment to, say, $325, her account could become overdrawn as soon as Wells Fargo added the coverage.
The report tried to determine how many Wells Fargo customers were hurt and how much they should be compensated. It estimated that the bank owed $73 million to wronged customers.
State insurance regulations required Wells Fargo to notify customers of the insurance before it was imposed. But the bank did not always do so, the report said. And almost 100,000 of the policies violated the disclosure requirements of five states — Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Tennessee and Washington.
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