American bank Wells Fargo has agreed to pay a $250 million fine to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) over its continued business oversight. The OCC had accused the company of failing to comply with a 2018 agreement involving internal business operating lapses.
The lapses pointed out by the OCC are mostly within Wells Fargo's mortgage business. The OCC said the bank failed to meet specifications outlined in a past agreement, including fixing decades of internal lapses.
Wells Fargo signed a consent order issued by the OCC, which included commitments to it improving protection and risk management for its home and auto lending customers.
"Wells Fargo has not met the requirements of the OCC's 2018 action against the bank. This is unacceptable," the OCC said.
The hefty fine comes just three years after the bank paid a record $1 billion fine for its failure to deliver on its promised interest rate adjustments for its auto and home loan customers. It was also accused of forcing customers to buy unnecessary insurance products on top of loans. The OCC had accused Wells Fargo of costing customers millions of dollars and in some cases even costing them their cars and homes.
Under the agreement, Wells Fargo has also been barred from transferring any of the active mortgages out of its portfolio. It also bars the bank from acquiring rights to service residential mortgages until it implements changes that meet the OCC's requirements.
Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf said in a statement that the bank will continue to work to address "longstanding deficiencies" with the help of the regulator. He added that the bank is making "significant progress" in making its business processes better for customers. Scharf said he is confident that the bank will meet all regulatory requirements.
Wells Fargo has paid a series of regulatory penalties and has been under unprecedented operating restrictions for more than a decade due to its past misconduct. Apart from the OCC, the bank had also paid $100 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2016 for illegally opening bank and credit card accounts for customers without their consent.