The Cost of Doing Business: Wells Fargo and the Wrong Side of the Law

Banking giant continues to pay settlements for taking customer cash

Andy Spears
2 min readAug 25


Photo by Tim Photoguy on Unsplash

Wells Fargo must like paying out settlements and fines for taking money from customers.

And customers must not mind too much, because Wells is one of America’s five largest banks.

Here’s the latest incidence of wrongdoing:

Wells Fargo has agreed to pay a $35 million civil penalty to settle U.S. charges that the company overcharged advisory fees, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said on Friday.

The SEC said it charged Wells Fargo Clearing Services LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network LLC for overcharging more than 10,900 investment advisory accounts more than $26.8 million in advisory fees.

Earlier this year, the bank paid a $100 million fine for “unsafe and unsound” practices:

Specifically, the Federal Reserve says, “Wells Fargo & Co.’s deficient oversight enabled the bank to violate U.S. sanctions regulations by providing a trade finance platform to a foreign bank that used the platform to process approximately $532 million in prohibited transactions between 2010 and 2015.”

Late last year, the bank was fined $3.7 billion for a range of bad deeds that cost consumers a total of $2 billion:

Consumers 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 by the bank. Wells Fargo also charged consumers unlawful surprise overdraft fees and applied other incorrect charges to checking and savings accounts.

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Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .