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Wells Fargo may face penalties over improper auto insurance charges

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NEW YORK — Wells Fargo & Co. may face regulatory sanctions for having improperly charged customers for auto insurance they did not seek, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is considering taking action over the matter, the Journal said, citing unnamed sources.

The bank said last week that 570,000 customers may have been wrongly charged for the insurance. In an interview, Wells’s head of consumer lending told Reuters the bank had informed regulators of the problems last year.

An internal review of the bank’s auto lending found more than 500,000 clients may have unwittingly paid for protection against vehicle loss or damage while making monthly loan payments, even though many drivers already had their own policies, Wells Fargo said last week.

The bank said at the time it may pay as much as $80 million to affected clients — with extra money for as many as 20,000 who lost cars, “as an expression of our regret.”

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