General Views Of Wells Fargo Locations Ahead Of Earns Figures

Jim Puzzanghera
September 30, 2016

The reputation of Wells Fargo & Co. took another blow Thursday when it agreed to pay $24 million for the improper repossession of cars owned by members of the U.S. military.

The bank agreed to pay $4.1 million to settle a Justice Department investigation into the repossession of 413 cars without the necessary court order from 2008 through the middle of last year in violation of a federal law designed to provide financial protections to active-duty military members. The bank also was fined $20 million by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for violations dating to 2006.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act requires a court order to repossess a vehicle if the service member took out the loan and made a payment before entering military service.

“We all have an obligation to ensure that the women and men who serve our country in the armed forces are afforded all of the rights they are due,” said U.S. Atty. Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California. “Wells Fargo failed in that obligation.”

News of the settlement and fine came as Wells Fargo Chief Executive John Stumpf was testifying at a House Financial Services Committee hearing about the scandal involving bank employees creating as many as 2 million accounts without customers’ authorization.

“It appears the company just can’t make it through this congressional hearing without us learning more and more information about what is going on at Wells Fargo,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles).

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