Fifth Third Bank Fake Accounts Lawsuit
Fifth Third Bank employees allegedly opened fake accounts without customers’ consent, because they hoped to meet aggressive sales goals, according to a lawsuit filed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday. The federal regulator alleged that the bank knew its employees were opening fake accounts since at least 2008 and up until 2016, the same year that Wells Fargo admitted its own employees had opened fake accounts to meet aggressive sales goals.
Fifth Third employees allegedly created fake deposit and credit card accounts, and transferred money back and forth between consumers’ existing accounts and the fake ones in order to be credited for sales. But, moving money without a customer’s consent is a violation of the Truth in Savings Act.
The bank has an incentive-based pay structure encourages its employees to “cross-sell” products and convince customers to sign up for more services.
“Fifth Third’s compensation and employee incentive structure does not reward retail employees for opening unauthorized accounts, nor does it give them sales quotas or product-specific targets,” said Susan Zaunbrecher, Chief Legal Officer at Fifth Third Bank.
Zaunbrecher also said the bank had already discovered the 1,100 fraudulent accounts through its own internal investigation, and that the CFPB did not identify any additional fake accounts. The bank has 10 million accounts, and the fake ones involved “less than $30,000 in improper customer charges that were ultimately waived or reimbursed to customers years ago,” she added.