By Dean Seal

 

U.S. Bank NA will pay a $37.5 million fine to settle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's allegations that it illegally accessed customers' credit reports to open unauthorized bank accounts and credit cards.

The regulator said in an enforcement action Thursday that the bank used sales goals and incentives to pressure employees into selling multiple products and services to customers, ultimately pushing those employees to illegally access customers' sensitive personal data and then open accounts without their permission.

U.S. Bank neither admits nor denies the allegations, and has agreed to resolve the matter with a $37.5 million penalty.

A spokesperson for U.S. Bank said Thursday that the settlement relates to sales practices that date back to 2010 and involved a small percentage of accounts. The bank has been working since 2016 to address concerns about those practices, the spokesperson said.

"The action by the CFPB closes out a 5+ year investigation," according to the statement. "We are pleased to put this matter behind us."

The CFPB claims the misconduct went on for more than a decade, and that U.S. Bank was aware that its sales goals and incentive-compensation program were spurring employees to open unauthorized accounts but did not have the controls in place to prevent the misconduct.

Shares of U.S. Bancorp, the bank's parent company, fell 3.1% to $46.70 in early trading Thursday.

 

Write to Dean Seal at dean.seal@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 28, 2022 11:47 ET (15:47 GMT)

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