CFPB Slaps Wells Fargo with $1B Fine

Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) must pay a $1 billion fine related to its auto loan and rate-lock programs, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced late last week.

The whopping penalty comes as the CFPB has generally relaxed its enforcement actions under the Trump administration and new acting director Mick Mulvaney, and received support from both sides of the aisle. The original action, pursued by both the CFPB and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, began under the Obama administration and found Wells Fargo in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act.

“Fraud is fraud and theft is theft,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who heads up the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement. “What happened to far too many consumers at Wells Fargo for far too many years cannot be described any other way. One billion dollars is one of the largest civil penalties ever imposed upon a bank and, based on all the evidence, it was well deserved.”

In a rare moment of agreement, committee ranking member Rep. Maxine Waters similarly praised the action.

“Wells Fargo has a horrible track record of harming consumers and deserves every punishment they have received and more,” the California Democrat said in a statement, although she also took the opportunity to slam Mulvaney’s leadership.

The San Francisco-based banking giant — which has seen its fair share of scandals over the last few years — received a $500 million credit from the CFPB for a penalty already collected by the OCC. 

“As to the terms of the settlement: We have said all along that we will enforce the law. That is what we did here,” Mulvaney said in a statement.

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