American Banker: Wells Fargo is not alone: OCC finds sales abuses at other banks, but report is being kept hidden


Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)


Wells Fargo’s fraudulent practices are commonplace in the banking industry according to a new report. “Hundreds of problems” and “systemic issues” were discovered in a review of large and midsize banks’ sales practices, yet federal regulators currently have no plans to make the results public.

American Banker reports:

“The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency began a broad examination of more than 40 banks after it was revealed that employees at Wells Fargo had opened millions of fake accounts in an effort to meet aggressive sales goals.

“The review uncovered specific examples of other banks opening accounts without proof of customers’ consent, an OCC spokesman acknowledged Tuesday. It also spurred the issuance of warnings on five specific industrywide issues that banks needed to address, and more than 250 specific items regulators wanted fixed at individual banks, according to a consultant briefed on the OCC’s findings. …

Yet the results of the review have not been publicly disclosed, and OCC has no plans to release a report, according to Bryan Hubbard, a spokesman for the agency.

“Hubbard declined to comment on why the agency is not making the results public. …

“Since [2016], however, President Trump has installed new leadership at the agency. Acting Comptroller Keith Noreika was succeeded by Joseph Otting, who was confirmed by the Senate in November. Otting is a former president and CEO of OneWest Bank in Pasadena, Calif., which is wholly owned by CIT Group. …

“Absent a report from the OCC, it is hard to assess what is happening in the banking industry as a whole. Though supervisory information about individual banks is confidential, Art Wilmarth, a law professor at George Washington University, argued that the OCC should release its general findings.

“‘This is a watchdog that’s not barking,’ he said.”

[Read the full article]

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