Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, sent a letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) expressing serious concern over a seven-year delay in the public availability of Wells Fargo’s performance evaluation under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The letter is the latest in Waters’ ongoing efforts to hold Wells Fargo accountable for its fraudulent activity following its settlement with regulators last month over the opening of 2 million unauthorized accounts. This letter follows a Committee hearing requested by Rep. Waters with former Chairman and CEO John Stumpf.
The CRA requires federal regulators to review a bank’s performance in meeting the credit needs of the communities it serves and provide a rating based on these evaluations. Wells Fargo last received a CRA rating of “outstanding” – the highest score provided by the OCC – in 2009. The OCC conducted another review in 2012 but has failed to release the results of that examination. Wells Fargo is currently undergoing another examination this year.
In her letter, Waters said she is deeply concerned about this delay and the potential that the bank’s 2016 CRA rating “may actually fail to consider the extensive fair lending and consumer compliance violations that have occurred at Wells Fargo in the intervening seven years since its last public CRA score.”
She highlighted Wells Fargo’s egregious misconduct revealed in the opening of 2 million unauthorized accounts, as well as other consumer abuses.
“Despite these very recent and serious abuses of consumers, the OCC has continued to approve transactions and branch expansions for Wells Fargo—as recently as last year—based on the bank’s 2009 CRA rating of outstanding,” the letter states. “That is unacceptable.”
The full text of the letter can be found below:
October 18, 2016
The Honorable Thomas J. Curry,
Comptroller of the Currency
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
400 7th St SW, Suite 3E-218
Washington D.C. 20219
Dear Comptroller Curry,
It has recently come to my attention that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has not released a Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) performance evaluation for Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. since 2009. In 2012, the OCC conducted a more recent CRA examination of Wells Fargo, but the OCC has failed to release the results of that examination. I am deeply concerned about this significant delay in the public availability of Wells Fargo’s CRA performance and the potential that the bank’s 2016 CRA rating—an examination that is currently underway—may actually fail to consider the extensive fair lending and consumer compliance violations that have occurred at Wells Fargo in the intervening seven years since its last public CRA score in 2009, when it was rated “outstanding.”
Since 2009, Wells Fargo has engaged in various fair lending and illegal credit practices, including its most recent wrongdoing related to the opening of deposit and credit card accounts without customers’ consent. For example:
- In April of 2016, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $1.2 billion related to civil fraud claims stemming from its’ participation in FHA’s Direct Endorsement Lender Program;
- Wells Fargo also agreed to pay a $3.6 million civil penalty to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for charging illegal fees to student loan borrowers;
- Twice in the last two years, Wells Fargo has entered into multi-million dollar settlements for violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act;
- Wells Fargo was a key party to the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement based on its failure to comply with servicing requirements for millions of mortgage customers;
- Wells Fargo entered into a $184 million settlement related to steering African-American and Hispanic borrowers into subprime mortgages and subjecting them to higher mortgage fees; and
- According to the Los Angeles Times, that same year, Wells Fargo quietly mailed refund checks to another 10,000 homeowners for improperly steering them into FHA mortgages and away from conventional financing.
Yet, despite these very recent and serious abuses of consumers, the OCC has continued to approve transactions and branch expansions for Wells Fargo—as recently as last year—based on the bank’s 2009 CRA rating of outstanding. That is unacceptable.
Neither Congress nor the American public should have to wait seven years for the OCC to release information about Wells Fargo’s performance under CRA. In addition, the ongoing CRA examination of Wells Fargo must fully reflect the bank’s numerous fair lending and consumer compliance violations. Accordingly, please provide the date by which the OCC will publicly release the results of Wells Fargo’s 2012 CRA exam and the expected date of completion and publication of the bank’s 2016 CRA performance examination.
Committee on Financial Services