The Washington Post

U.S. Bank accused of allowing fake accounts


For more than a decade, U.S. Bank pressured its employees to open fake accounts in their customers’ names to meet unrealisti­c sales goals, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Thursday, in a case that is deeply similar to the sales practices scandal uncovered at Wells Fargo last decade.

The CFPB alleged that U.S. Bank accessed consumers’ credit reports to open checking and savings accounts, credit cards and lines of credit without their permission. Employees were encouraged to do so, to meet the bank’s goals of selling multiple products to each customer with the bank.

The scale of U.S. Bank’s fake accounts scandal was not disclosed immediatel­y by the CFPB, but the bank was forced to pay $37.5 million in fines and penalties and will have to refund customers any fees they paid for the fake accounts.

A spokesman for U.S. Bank said that the bad sales practices were a legacy issue at the bank dating to 2016 and that the bank has made significan­t improvemen­ts to its sales practices since then. The consent order reached with the CFPB acknowledg­es that U.S. Bank did make improvemen­ts to its sales practices in recent years.

“The action by the CFPB closes out a [more than five year] investigat­ion. We are pleased to put this matter behind us,” said Lee Henderson, a spokesman for the bank.

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