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January 2019

Wells Fargo agrees to $575 million in latest settlement around questionable practices

Wells Fargo will pay $575 million to customers across the country as part of a series of claims stemming from phony customer accounts and other improper sales practices. The agreement, announced in late December, involved all 50 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia.

Washington state will get about $16 million as part of the settlement from the San Francisco-based bank. California gets the biggest share at around $149 million.

As part of the settlement, Wells Fargo will create a website outlining the remediation programs. It will also create a customer restitution review program with teams to review and respond to customer inquiries, and it promises to provide progress reports.

This agreement underscores our serious commitment to making things right in regard to past issues as we work to build a better bank, Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan said in a statement.

The unacceptable practices involved mortgage interest-rate lock matters as well as retail sales, auto collateral protection insurance (CPI), and Guaranteed Asset/Auto Protection (GAP) matters.

The recent settlement is the latest in a series of penalties related to its sales practices. Two years ago, the bank agreed to pay $190 million to settle federal government claims.

Wells Fargo has reached settlements with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Los Angeles city attorney and the New York attorney general. Its most recent securities filing indicates it is also facing probes by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Labor.

So far, Wells Fargo has incurred $2 billion in fines for fraudulent practices, along with stringent risk-management plans, and "an unprecedented growth restriction" imposed by the Federal Reserve.