Military service members who had their cars illegally repossessed by Wells Fargo in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act will be receiving repayment in the amount of $4.1 million total for 413 vehicles.The bank will also be forced to pay $20 million in past due fines for violations as far back as 2006. The officie of the Comptroller of the Currency levied the fines on the mega-bank after a Justice Department investigation concluded Thursday.The law is designed to provide financial protection to active-duty military while deployed or in other extenuating circumstances. The SCRA requires that a court order to repossess a vehicle must be obtained if the soldier took out a 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. attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California. “Wells Fargo failed in that obligation.”While the news broke, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf testified at a House Financial Services Committee about a scandal involving bank employees creating 2 million unauthorized accounts on behalf of customers. The scandal involved unreachable quotas for bank workers and a toxic culture of managers who forced their employees to meet unobtainable goals.
Wells Fargo Took Cars On Deployment
The investigation began after Wells Fargo repossessed a 2011 Ford Escape from Army National Guardsman Dennis Singleton in 2013. He was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan when the car was repossessed without a court order.After the bank sold his car at auction, Wells Fargo attempted to collect more than $10,000 from him to cover the difference between what the vehicle sold for and what was owed on it.The settlement means that Wells Fargo will pay $10,000 to each affected service member, plus any lost equity in each vehicle and interest.