Personal Finance

Some Wells Fargo customers have already received their share of the $2 billion misconduct settlement. Here's what you need to know

Key Points
  • Wells Fargo also agreed to pay a $1.7 billion civil penalty, which marks the largest fine ever doled out by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • $1.3 billion of the $2 billion in consumer redress already has reached 11 million accounts, according to the CFPB.
  • If you are among the customers affected, the bank will contact you.
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People owed a piece of the $2 billion that Wells Fargo has agreed to pay to customers affected by some of its banking practices could soon receive those funds.

The nation's fourth-largest bank reached a settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, announced Tuesday, to resolve customer abuses related to auto lending, deposit accounts and mortgage lending, affecting about 16 million accounts.

Wells Fargo also agreed to pay a $1.7 billion civil penalty — the largest ever doled out by the CFPB.

"We have already communicated with many of the customers who may have been impacted by the matters covered in the settlement, and those efforts are ongoing," a Wells Fargo spokesperson told CNBC.

Wells Fargo agrees to $3.7 billion settlement with CFPB over consumer abuses
Wells Fargo agrees to $3.7 billion settlement with CFPB over consumer abuses

In other words, if you are among the affected customers, you may already have received your share of the $2 billion, or you will automatically hear from Wells Fargo. You do not need to take any action, the bank said.

The CFPB said that customers of the bank were illegally assessed fees and interest charges on auto and mortgage loans, had their cars wrongly repossessed and had payments to auto and mortgage loans misapplied. Additionally, Wells Fargo charged consumers unlawful surprise overdraft fees and applied other incorrect charges to checking and savings accounts, and improperly froze some accounts, the CFPB said.

$1.3 billion has already reached 11 million accounts

More than 11 million customer accounts already have received more than $1.3 billion related to auto loan issues. Another 5 million customers with deposit accounts are receiving $500 million in remediation, including $205 million related to surprise overdraft fees, and thousands of customers with mortgages will receive a piece of at least $195 million, a CFPB spokesperson said.

The amount that each harmed consumer will get (or already got) depends on the specifics. For customers whose vehicles were wrongly repossessed, the remediation includes $4,000, but could be higher. For deposit accounts that were wrongly frozen, the settlement calls for $150 for each affected customer.

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"As we have said before, we and our regulators have identified a series of unacceptable practices that we have been working systematically to change and provide customer remediation where warranted," said Charlie Scharf, Wells Fargo CEO, in the company's press release about the settlement.

"This far-reaching agreement is an important milestone in our work to transform the operating practices at Wells Fargo and to put these issues behind us," Scharf said.