You may have noticed that it sometimes takes a little while and the occasional reminder to get Wells Fargo to stop doing the bad thing it was doing and start doing things designed to keep it from doing the same bad things over and over again. Certainly, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency has noticed, and is annoyed, because you’d have thought enduring the biggest bollocking at the hands of the least bank-bollocking administration in American history might have sent the message that they were serious. Well, if $1 billion in fines two years ago wasn’t enough to get the Stagecoach to change its ways, surely this will do the trick.
Regulators fined Wells Fargo & Co. $250 million for lack of progress in addressing longstanding issues in its mortgage business…. “Wells Fargo has not met the requirements of the OCC’s 2018 action against the bank. This is unacceptable,” said Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu in a statement.
The regulatory rebuke specifically faults the bank for failing to develop a program for customers to avoid losing their homes, such as through loan modifications. That has caused errors that harmed borrowers, the OCC said. The penalty asks the bank to fix that program and improve its risk-management systems. It also bars the bank from acquiring mortgage servicing from other lenders.
In response to this completely unnecessary quarter-billion dollar hit, CEO Charlie Scharf reminded us once again that it takes time to fix a mess as big as Wells. Quite a lot of time, apparently, as Scharf is the fourth man to attempt it over the last five years, and in fact has been at it for two years himself, and the work is obviously nowhere near done. Still, he’d like a big pat on the back for the fact that Wells has done a sufficient enough job not inventing accounts to get out from under the scandal that started it all.
The bank said that, as one example of its progress, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau allowed its initial penalty for the fake accounts to expire on Wednesday, five years after it was first put in place.
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