Tester Holds Wells Fargo Accountable, Fights for Fraud Victims to Get Their Day in Court
Senator’s Bill will Prevent Wells Fargo from Blocking Victims’ Ability to Sue for Fraudulent Actions
(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester has introduced legislation to hold Wells Fargo accountable after the company opened over two million fraudulent deposit and credit card accounts without customers' knowledge or consent.
Wells Fargo is attempting to use a forced arbitration clause, which was included in the contracts that customers signed when they opened their legitimate accounts, that blocks them from suing the bank over fraudulent accounts. Tester in response has introduced legislation to eliminate the ability of any bank to force customers into arbitration on any issue associated with fraudulent accounts.
"It is unacceptable that Wells Fargo is hiding behind fine print and denying folks the ability to seek justice for the bank's fraudulent actions," said Tester, a member of the Senate Banking Committee. "Wells Fargo's irresponsible and reckless business model has put people's credit at risk, and in some cases may have caused irreversible damage. Wells Fargo must clean up their act."
Tester's Justice for Victims of Fraud Act will retroactively apply a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule to Wells Fargo's victims that allows them to seek their day in court-even if they signed a contract that restricts them to forced arbitration.
The CFPB rule currently only applies to contracts signed after the rule was put in place earlier this year.
In September, Tester grilled former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf during a Senate Banking Committee hearing for the bank's actions that jeopardized the finances of thousands of Americans.
After Stumpf was unable to answer Tester's questions about Wells Fargo's fraudulent actions, Tester sent a letter to the former CEO with further questions about the potential impacts Wells Fargo's actions are having on families who have been forced to pay higher interest rates on loans as a result of negative information that was reported to credit bureaus.
Additionally, Tester's announced that his office is taking casework from Montanans who believe they have been impacted by Wells Fargo's actions.