Federal Reserve imposes new penalties on Wells Fargo

Published: Friday, February 02, 2018 @ 6:31 PM
Updated: Friday, February 02, 2018 @ 6:31 PM


            FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, file photo, a man walks past a Wells Fargo location in Philadelphia. The Federal Reserve is imposing more penalties on Wells Fargo, freezing the bank's growth until it can prove it has improved its internal controls. The new penalties were announced late Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, on Fed Chair Janet Yellen's last day at the central bank. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, file photo, a man walks past a Wells Fargo location in Philadelphia. The Federal Reserve is imposing more penalties on Wells Fargo, freezing the bank's growth until it can prove it has improved its internal controls. The new penalties were announced late Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, on Fed Chair Janet Yellen's last day at the central bank. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The Federal Reserve is imposing more penalties on Wells Fargo, freezing the bank's growth until it can prove it has improved its internal controls. In addition, bank agreed to replace four board members.

It's the latest blow against the San Francisco bank that has had its reputation tarnished by revelations it opened phony customer accounts and sold auto insurance to customers who did not need it.

The new penalties were announced late Friday on Fed Chair Janet Yellen's last day at the central bank.

"We cannot tolerate pervasive and persistent misconduct at any bank," Yellen said in a statement. "The enforcement action we are taking today will ensure that Wells Fargo will not expand until it is able to do so safely and with the protections needed to manage all of its risks and protect its customers."

The Fed said it is restricting the bank's assets to the level where they stood at the end of last year until it can demonstrate that it has improved its internal controls.

The announcement came after the close of trading on Wall Street Friday. Wells Fargo's stock fell more than 6 percent in after-hours trading.

"We take this order seriously and are focused on addressing all of the Federal Reserve's concerns," CEO Timothy Sloan said.

Wells Fargo said that it is confident it will satisfy the Fed's requirements and reiterated that it remains "open for business."

The bank said it will continue to meet customer's financial needs, including saving, borrowing and investing.

It said it has the flexibility on its balance sheet to pull back from certain activities to meet the Fed's growth limits, although its exact steps have not been determined.

Sloan also emphasized that the order is related to prior issues, not any new matters.

"While there is still more work to do, we have made significant improvements over the past year to our governance and risk management that address concerns highlighted in this consent order," he said.

The company has agreed to replace three directors by April and another one by year-end. It did not specify which board members would be affected.

The Fed's new order marked the latest chapter in a series of scandals which have rocked the bank in recent years.

Wells Fargo has admitted that employees opened more than 3 million fake accounts in order to meet sales quotas. It ended up paying $185 million to regulators and settled a class-action suit for $142 million.

It also has admitted it signed up hundreds of thousands of auto loan customers for auto insurance they did not need. Some of those customers had their cars repossessed because they could not afford both the auto loan and insurance payments.

And Wells Fargo also offered refunds to customers last year after acknowledging that its mortgage bankers unfairly charged them fees to lock in interest rates on mortgages.

The Fed's action came on a 3-0 vote. Randal Quarles, who is the Fed's vice chairman for supervision, has recused himself from participating in matters involving Wells Fargo.

___

Skidmore Sell reported from Portland, Oregon.

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Parents locked 4 adopted children in separate bedrooms, restricted food, bathroom use, police say

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 2:28 AM

Benito and Carol Gutierrez. (Photo via Pima County Sheriff's Department)
Pima County Sheriff's Department
Benito and Carol Gutierrez. (Photo via Pima County Sheriff's Department)(Pima County Sheriff's Department)

An Arizona couple is facing child abuse charges after police say they locked their four adopted children in separate bedrooms, restricting access to food and bathrooms.

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Women may be mistaking ovarian cancer symptoms for bloating, study says

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 3:45 AM

Woman in hospital bed (stock photo)
BrianAJackson/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Woman in hospital bed (stock photo)(BrianAJackson/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

According to a new research, women may be suffering from ovarian cancer without even knowing it.

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A study completed by Target Ovarian Cancer (TOC) shared Monday found that instead of visiting a physician after feeling symptoms including bloating and fullness, women are more likely to simply change their diets. By just switching to eating probiotic yogurts or leaving out gluten from their diets, women are putting themselves at risk, because persistent bloating can be a sign of ovarian cancer. According to TOC, ovarian cancer symptoms include a bloated stomach, more frequent urination, continued feelings of fullness and stomach pain.

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The research, which took place in the United Kingdom, found that 50 percent of women opted to change their diets, while only 34 percent would see their doctors over concerns about bloating. Additionally, women over age 55, who have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, were more likely to look up their symptoms online instead of seeing a professional.

After TOC published the findings online, one woman responded with a story of her own mother, who had believed her symptoms of ovarian cancer were caused by Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS) or urinary tract infections.

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The newly released report is meant to raise awareness for the disease, which, according to the American Cancer Society, is the fifth-ranking cause of death among women. Women have a 1 in 79 chance of developing ovarian cancer and a 1 in 108 risk of dying as a result, although the rate of women being diagnosed with it has fallen over the past two decades.


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Alabama Sen. Doug Jones calls arming teachers 'the dumbest idea I've ever heard'

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 2:04 AM

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Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) called an Alabama push to arm teachers “the dumbest idea [he had] ever heard” and “crazy.”

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Alabama’s state House is considering a bill that would allow teachers to carry firearms. State Rep. Will Ainsworth – who is sponsoring the bill – introduced it during a press conference at an Alabama elementary school. Ainsworth, a Republican, said teachers carrying guns would be required to undergo 40 hours of training before being certified to carry a gun in the classroom, AL.com reports. The state won’t pay for a teacher’s gun.

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Ainsworth said the law was about giving kids “a fighting chance.”

“The only way we can do that is to have people armed in the schools to fight back,” he said.

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But to Jones, the new law doesn’t make any sense. He told WKRG: “I think that’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. I think it’s crazy. You don’t need 40 to 50 guns in there, and it’s a cost issue. You’re going to have to train those teachers. You don’t need to arm America in order to stop this; you just need to be smart about it.”

Jones was elected to the upper chamber in December after a heated race with Republican candidate Roy Moore. The former U.S. attorney has advocated for gun control in the past while simultaneously being a Second Amendment supporter. During the Senate race, the National Rifle Association spent almost $55,000 on mailers against him. He was the first Democrat elected to a Senate seat from Alabama in over two decades.

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This isn’t the first time that pro-gun politicians have suggested arming educators, but the notion is getting another push in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting that left 17 dead. A sheriff in one of Florida’s biggest counties said his department is putting together a program to train and arm teachers. Even Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been asked about the idea, although she declined to take a stand on the issue, instead saying: “I think this is an important issue for all states to grapple with and to tackle. They clearly have the opportunity and the option to do that and there are differences in how states approach this.”

Rare reached out to Sen. Doug Jones’ office but received no comment.

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Video shows man kidnapping bikini barista at knifepoint before attempted rape

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 10:48 PM

(Security Footage via Kent Police Department )
(Security Footage via Kent Police Department )

A man assaulted a bikini barista in Kent, Washington, and attempted to rape her after buying a drink early Tuesday morning, according to police. 

At 4:45 a.m., police responded to the Hottie Shots Espresso stand after a 30-year-old barista reported the incident. 

The barista, a Bonney Lake, Washington resident, told police that the assailant came to the coffee stand window on foot and ordered a drink. While the barista was making the drink, investigators say the assailant climbed through the window and held her at knifepoint.

Police say that during the assailant's attempt to sexually assault the barista, he noticed vehicle headlights of a customer pulling into the drive-thru and fled the area. 

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Investigators describe the assailant as a white male in his 30s, about 5 feet 5 inches tall, with darker hair and lightly colored facial hair. Police also say he may have fled in a dark sedan with black rims. 

Police also say the assailant was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, black pants and a black baseball hat with a brown bill. The suspect is also described by police as appearing "to have an earring in his left ear, and possibly a Bluetooth device in his right ear."

“I know that the public can help us identify this guy. It is a priority for us to get him off the streets as soon as possible before he terrorizes someone else,” Detective Melanie Robinson said in a statement. 

Any witnesses or anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or the Kent police tip line at 253-856-5808.

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