Wells Fargo settles case where it illegallyrepossessed servicemen's cars while they were in combat
Wells Fargo Bank will pay a $4.1 million settlement as part of an agreement to settle allegations that the bank illegally repossessed 413 cars owned by members of the U.S. military, according to a press release issued Thursday.This case suggests poor compliance procedures within the bank. When you add this case to the recent one where employees were opening bogus accounts that customers were not aware of in order to hit certain objectives set by management, there appears to be a pattern of failure within the bank's compliance system.
"Auto lenders cannot repossess the cars of the brave men and women who risk their lives to defend our freedom without providing them the required legal protections under the SCRA," said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
Gupta was referring to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which protects service members from select civil proceedings, including a bank's attempt to repossess a car that was purchased before a person entered military service.
As part of the agreement filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the Wells Fargo Dealer Services has also agreed to change its policies in order to adhere to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.