WELLS FARGO SIGN

The sign at the Wells Fargo building in downtown Winston-Salem.

The window is open for filing reimbursement claims if you’re a Wells Fargo & Co. customer affected by the consumer account fraud.

Keller Rohrback LLP and Munger, Tolles, & Olson LLP said the settlement period covers May 1, 2002, through April 20, 2017. Approval of the $142 million settlement was announced July 10.

Eligible customers have until Feb. 3 to submit a form online or by mail. Claim forms are available at https://wfsettlement.com or by calling 866-431-8549.

Wells Fargo confirmed Aug. 31 there were at least 3.53 million accounts affected by its phony customer accounts scandal, up from the 2.1 million announced in September 2016, when the fraudulent activities were acknowledged. Most of the victims were in Arizona and California.

The bank has said it cannot rule out that at least 38,722 unauthorized customer accounts were established in North Carolina and 23,327 in South Carolina

Customers will be notified whether they will receive a refund check or a credit to an account.

Cash benefits for eligible customers include:

  • A payment to compensate individuals for fees they may have paid in connection with unauthorized accounts.
  • Cash to compensate individuals for damages caused by harm to their credit.

The firms said that any money remaining in the fund, after paying benefits above and all costs and expenses, will be paid out as additional compensation on a per-account basis.

Customers who object to the settlement agreement or don’t want to participate have until Feb. 18 to inform the law firms.

The federal court that agreed to the settlement will hold a hearing March 22 to consider whether to approve the settlement.

The law firms may request reimbursement of costs, as well as attorneys’ fees of up to 15 percent of the settlement fund, or $21.3 million.

The settlement is on top of the $185 million the bank agreed in September 2016 to pay to resolve regulatory complaints about the fraudulent accounts.

Wells Fargo has said it could experience overall losses reaching $3.3 billion in its attempt to resolve its scandals. That number has more than tripled since October 2016.

The bank hired a third-party group to review 165 million current and former retail-banking customer accounts opened from January 2009 through September 2016. The review analyzed data on consumer and small-business checking, savings, unsecured credit card, line of credit accounts and identity theft protection services from Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo already has agreed to provide $2.8 million in additional refunds and credits on top of the $3.3 million initially committed to people affected.

Wells Fargo said in March it believes the court settlement is “fair, reasonable and adequate.”

“This preliminary approval is a major milestone in our efforts to make things right for our customers,” Tim Sloan, Wells Fargo’s chief executive and president, said in a statement in March.

Sloan became Wells Fargo’s top executive in a ripple effect from the scandal after John Stumpf resigned abruptly in October 2016 as chairman and chief executive.

“It further ensures each customer impacted by an improper retail sales practice has every opportunity for remediation,” Sloan said.

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rcraver@wsjournal.com 336-727-7376 @rcraverWSJ

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