Wells Fargo & Co. expanded a tentative customer agreement, now offering compensation to consumers hurt by the bank’s sales practices as early as May 2002.
The new $142 million potential settlement adds $32 million to the previous agreement. The original one, announced last month, covered consumers who were impacted from 2009 onward.
The expanded settlement comes after the San Francisco-based bank’s board earlier this month released a report diving into how a high-pressure sales strategy that went back as far as 2002 led to as many as 2.1 million accounts being created using fictitious or unauthorized customer information. That was the first time the bank admitted the activity went back farther than 2009.
On a call with media earlier this month after the board report was published, Wells Fargo Chief Executive Timothy Sloan said the bank has “gone out of our way” in contacting customers. That was in response to a question over whether Wells Fargo would refund customers going back to 2002 given the time frame of aggressive sales tactics disclosed in the board report.
Wells Fargo said Friday that customers who were charged improper fees 2002 through 2008 will receive a flat-rate fee reimbursement that will be based on the average of fees paid out for more recent customers.
Law firm Keller Rohrback LLP, which is representing customers in the settlement, said in a news release that the federal judge overseeing the case has scheduled a hearing for May 18 to grant preliminary approval to the settlement. If that happens, customers will begin receiving more information about settlement benefits before the court grants final approval.
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