A federal judge in California has given preliminary approval to a Wells Fargo class-action settlement over the San Francisco-based bank’s sales scandal, an accord that could top $142 million.
The approval, announced over the weekend, is expected to compensate customers nationwide who were hit with fees and had their credit scores marred by the opening of fake accounts. Wells Fargo, in a statement, said that in the “unlikely event” the settlement total is not enough to provide planned relief, it would contribute additional funds to the deal.
“We are pleased that the court found the settlement to be fair, reasonable and adequate,” CEO Tim Sloan said in the statement. “It further ensures each customer impacted by an improper retail sales practice has every opportunity for remediation.”
It’s the latest effort by Wells to move past the scandal, which cost the former CEO and other executives their jobs and led to lost business across the company. The third-biggest bank by assets is seeking to repair its image, after authorities said employees opened more than 2 million accounts that may not have been authorized by consumers as they pushed to meet aggressive sales goals.
The settlement’s class includes anyone for whom the bank opened a variety of products and services without their consent over a period from May 1, 2002, to April 20, 2017. Those products and services include consumer or small-business checking or savings accounts as well as identity theft protection services.
The settlement stems from a class-action lawsuit filed in May 2015 by a Wells Fargo customer in California, Shahriar Jabbari, who claimed the bank opened seven accounts he did not authorize.
In a statement, Derek Loeser, lead attorney at Keller Rohrback, the law firm that represented Jabbari, said the settlement will provide “substantial monetary benefits and first-of-its kind credit repair damage to customers.”
Loeser added that the deal is important for holding Wells Fargo accountable “for its abuse of its customers’ trust.”