"Wells Fargo & Company is an American multinational banking and financial services holding company which is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with "hubquarters" throughout the country. It is the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by assets and the largest bank by market capitalization. Wells Fargo is the second largest bank in deposits, home mortgage servicing, and debit cards. In 2011, Wells Fargo was the 23rd largest company in the United States.
...The firm's primary U.S. operating subsidiary is national bank Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., which designates its main office as Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Wells Fargo in its present form is a result of a merger between San Francisco–based Wells Fargo & Company and Minneapolis-based Norwest Corporation in 1998 and the subsequent 2008 acquisition of Charlotte-based Wachovia...
Wells Fargo is one of the "Big Four banks" of the United States, along with JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup—its main competitors. The company operates across 35 countries and has over 70 million customers globally. ...As of July 12, 2013, Wells Fargo became the world's biggest bank by market capitalization, worth $236 billion, beating ICBC.
On October 3, 2008, Wachovia agreed to be bought by Wells Fargo for about $14.8B in an all-stock transaction.
...On October 28, 2008, Wells Fargo was the recipient of $25B of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act Federal bail-out in the form of a preferred stock purchase. ...On Dec. 23, 2009, Wells Fargo redeemed the $25 billion of series D preferred stock issued to the U.S. Treasury under the Troubled Asset Relief Program’s Capital Purchase Program.
To further ensure shareholder approval, Wachovia issued Wells Fargo with preferred stock holding 39.9% of the voting power in the company.
...Wells Fargo offers investment products through its subsidiaries, Wells Fargo Investments, LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC
Wells Fargo Securities ("WFS") is the investment banking division of Wells Fargo & Co.
In a March 2010 agreement with federal prosecutors, Wells Fargo acknowledged that between 2004 and 2007 Wachovia had failed to monitor and report suspected money laundering by narcotics traffickers, including the cash used to buy four planes that shipped a total of 22 tons of cocaine into Mexico.
In August 2010, Wells Fargo was fined by U.S. District Judge William Alsup for overdraft practices designed to "gouge" consumers and "profiteer" at their expense, and for misleading consumers about how the bank processed transactions and assessed overdraft fees.
On April 5, 2012, a federal judge ordered Wells Fargo to pay $3.1 million in punitive damages over a single loan, one of the largest fines for a bank ever for mortgaging service misconduct. Elizabeth Magner, a federal bankruptcy judge in the Eastern District of Louisiana, cited the bank's behavior as "highly reprehensible", stating that Wells Fargo has taken advantage of borrowers who rely on the bank's accurate calculations. She went on to add, "perhaps more disturbing is Wells Fargo's refusal to voluntarily correct its errors. It prefers to rely on the ignorance of borrowers or their inability to fund a challenge to its demands, rather than voluntarily relinquish gains obtained through improper accounting methods."
On July 13, 2012, Wells Fargo entered a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice for allegedly discriminating against African-American and Hispanic borrowers from 2004 to 2009.
On August 14, 2012, Wells Fargo agreed to pay around $6.5 million to settle SEC charges that in 2007 it sold risky mortgage-backed securities without fully realizing their dangers.
On October 9, 2012, the U.S. federal government sued the bank under the False Claims Act at the federal court in Manhattan, New York. The suit alleges that Wells Fargo defrauded the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) over the past ten years, underwriting over 100,000 FHA backed loans when over half did not qualify for the program.
In April 2013, Wells Fargo settled a suit with 24,000 Florida homeowners alongside insurer QBE, in which they were accused of inflating premiums on forced-place insurance. In May 2013, Wells Fargo paid $203 million to settle class-action litigation accusing the bank of imposing excessive overdraft fees on checking-account customers. Also in May, the New York attorney-general, Eric Scheidermann, announced a lawsuit against Wells Fargo over alleged violations of the national mortgage settlement, a $25 billion deal struck between 49 state attorneys and the five-largest mortgage servicers in the US. Schneidermann claimed Wells Fargo had violated rules over giving fair and timely serving.
In December 2011, the non-partisan organization Public Campaign criticized Wells Fargo for spending $11 million on lobbying and not paying any taxes during 2008–10, instead getting $681 million in tax rebates, despite making a profit of $49 billion, laying off 6,385 workers since 2008, and increasing executive pay by 180% to $49.8 million in 2010 for its top five executives."