CFPB fines bank over auto loan, mortgage, and deposit account allegations
On December 20, the CFPB announced a consent order against a national bank for allegedly mismanaging auto loans, mortgages, and deposit accounts. According to the Bureau, the bank allegedly engaged in deceptive or unfair acts or practices in violation of the CFPA by, among other things: (i) incorrectly processing auto-loan payments; (ii) assessing borrowers erroneous fees and interest due to technology, audit, and compliance failures; (iii) incorrectly denying mortgage loan modification applications; (iv) failing to ensure that unearned Guaranteed Asset Protection fees were refunded to borrowers who paid off their loans; (v) incorrectly denying mortgage loan modification applications and miscalculated fees; and (vi) charging “surprise” overdraft fees on debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals because, according to the Bureau, consumers “believed that if they had enough money to cover the relevant transaction when it was authorized they would not incur an [o]verdraft fee.”
Under the terms of the consent order, the bank is required to pay redress totaling more than $2 billion to allegedly harmed customers. Specifically, the bank is ordered to pay approximately: (i) $1.3 billion in consumer redress for affected auto lending accounts; (ii) $500 million in consumer redress for affected deposit accounts, including $205 million for illegal surprise overdraft fees; and (iii) nearly $200 million in consumer redress for affected mortgage servicing accounts. Among other things, the bank is prohibited from charging overdraft fees for deposit accounts when the consumer had available funds at the time of a purchase or other debit transaction, but then subsequently had a negative balance once the transaction settled. The bank is also ordered to pay a $1.7 billion civil penalty to the Bureau. CFPB Director Rohit Chopra released a statement following the announcement saying the order does not provide immunity for any individuals nor does it release claims for any ongoing illegal acts or practices.
The bank issued a press release stating that “[c]urrent leadership has made significant progress to transform the bank,” and noting that “the CFPB recognized that since 2020, the company has accelerated corrective actions and remediation, including to address the matters covered by today’s settlement.”