Wells Fargo was not the only bank opening accounts without customer consent, a top Washington banking regulator told Congress on Wednesday.
Questionable account-opening activity was uncovered at 40 major banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency told a House committee at a hearing.
But the regulator has no plans to name the banks it found to be opening those accounts, OCC boss Joseph Otting told lawmakers.
The regulator found evidence over a three-year period that nearly 20,000 bank accounts were either opened without customer consent or had other procedural problems, Otting told the House Financial Services Committee.
The OCC investigated account openings after Wells Fargo was found two years ago to have opened 3.5 million bogus accounts.
The scandal costs the then-chief executive of Wells Fargo his job.
Otting said the banks in question received “matters requiring attention” notices that are followed up on by the agency.
A bank’s failure to fix the behavior “could result in enforcement actions, which include public enforcement actions,” Bryan Hubbard, an OCC spokesman, told The Post late Wednesday.
But so far, the OCC plan is to keep mum.
Not naming names or taking immediate action didn’t sit well with Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who called the agency’s behavior “deeply disturbing.”
“Let me get this straight, your examiners found evidence that there were banks that had opened accounts for customers without their consent and you decided not to take any public enforcement actions against them and instead gave them a warning?” Maloney asked.
Other committee members said the lack of disclosure increases the chances of banks behaving badly.
“You did this whole study and then you never named anybody … I’m not seeing an approach from OCC that would curtail other banks from following in this type of conduct,” Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) said.
Otting is scheduled to face the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday. Ranking member Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday: “The public deserves more information on the prevalence of fake account abuses and other sales misconduct at the big banks the OCC reviewed.”
Source: The New York Post