Senator Says Wells Fargo Fake Account Fiasco May Have Also Hit Small Businesses

Image courtesy of Hammerin Man

Much of the attention surrounding the ongoing Wells Fargo fake account fiasco has focused on the millions of individual banking and credit customers who had bogus accounts opened in their name without authorization. But Wells Fargo is also a major provider of small business loans and accounts, and the head of the Senate Small Business Committee wants the bank to find out how many, if any, of these customers were affected by this widespread fraud.

Back on Sept. 20, Sen. David Vitter (LA) announced that the Small Business Committee would be investigating this aspect of the Wells scandal.

More recently, Vitter followed up with a letter, seen by Consumerist, to Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf. That letter points out that the bank is the largest Small Business Administration lender, with thousands of loans totaling more than $7.1 billion in value — all of which is guaranteed by U.S. taxpayers. The senator called on Stumpf to expand the scope of the bank’s investigation into this bad behavior to see if it extends into this realm.

The letter demands a full accounting of the number of small business owners and business lending clients who may have been impacted by Wells Fargo’s alleged fraud.

“It’s become clear that fraud is part of the broader culture at Wells Fargo,” said Chairman Vitter, who is also a member of the Senate Banking Committee, in a statement emailed to Consumerist. “Considering their major role in small business lending, Wells Fargo needs to make public the extent to which any small business clients may have been defrauded and what corrective actions will be taken.”

Vitter has also, in a separate letter, asked the Small Business Administration’s inspector general to investigate Wells Fargo’s participation in the SBA’s lending programs.

[h/t Reuters]