Wells Fargo says hundreds of customers lost homes after computer glitch
The embattled bank revealed the issue in a regulatory filing this week and said it has set aside $8 million to compensate customers affected by the glitch.
The same filing also disclosed that Wells Fargo is facing "formal or informal inquiries or investigations" from unnamed government agencies over how the company purchased federal low-income housing tax credits. The document states the probes are linked to "the financing of low income housing developments," but does not offer further details.
Reuters first reported news of investigations and mishandled mortgage modifications on Friday.
Wells Fargo said the computer error affected "certain accounts" that were undergoing the foreclosure process between April 2010 and October 2015, when the issue was corrected.
About 625 customers were incorrectly denied a loan modification or were not offered one even though they were qualified, according to the filing. In about 400 cases, the customers were ultimately foreclosed upon.
Wells Fargo said in a statement that it was "very sorry that this error occurred" and said it was "providing remediation" to the affected customers.
A spokesperson for the bank "there's not a clear, direct cause and effect relationship between the modification" denials and foreclosures, but confirmed customers who were denied modifications lost their homes.
Wells Fargo has been mired in a series of scandals in recent years that have cost the firm billions and left it facing a string of lawsuits and investigations.
Earlier this week, the Justice Department announced Wells Fargo agreed to pay a $2.1 billion fine for issuing mortgage loans it knew contained incorrect income information. The government said the loans contributed to the 2008 financial crisis that crippled the global economy.
In June, Wells Fargo was accused by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission of using complex financial investments to take advantage of mom-and-pop investors. Wells Fargo, which neither admitted nor denied the SEC's allegations, said at the time it "cooperated fully" with the SEC probe.
One of its most far-reaching scandals involved the creation of millions of fake accounts the company created for unsuspecting customers in order to boost its sales figures. The scope of that issue ballooned since the practice was first uncovered in September of 2016.
The bank has also admitted to hitting customers with unfair mortgage fees and charging people for car insurance they didn't need.
- CNN's Julia Horowitz and Matt Egan contributed to this report.
Newseum apologizes for 'Fake News' shirts: 'We made a mistake'
The museum pulled the shirts and issued an apology on Saturday -- a day after criticism erupted from both the public and journalists for selling a shirt with a catchphrase used by President Donald Trump to disparage the media. Trump repeatedly calls journalists "the enemy of the people."
"We made a mistake and we apologize. A free press is an essential part of our democracy and journalists are not the enemy of the people," the statement read.
A Poynter story posted Friday about the "Fake News" shirts, which were listed for sale for $24.99, garnered widespread attention on social media. While the article also pointed out that the museum sells "MAGA" hats and other Trump-branded merchandise, just as it sold Obama merchandise during the prior administration, it was the "Fake News" shirts that stirred up fierce condemnation from journalists.
Museum spokesperson Sonya Gavanka initially defended the decision to sell the shirts, saying they were intended to be a "satirical rebuke" of anti-media rhetoric.
"Fake news is a word that is in our popular culture now," Gavanka said, adding that the Newseum store carries "a variety of other 'tongue-in-cheek' sayings."
The Newseum said in its statement Saturday that does not plan to discontinue other Trump-related paraphernalia.
"As an organization that celebrates the rights of people from all political spectrums to express themselves freely, we've historically made all types of political merchandise available for our guests to purchase," the Newseum statement reads. "That has included former and current presidential slogans and imagery and merchandise from all political parties. We continue to do so in celebration of freedom of speech."
-CNN's Hadas Gold contributed to this report.
For auto industry, weaker fuel economy rules would mean a world of chaos
The best outcome will be earnest negotiations to reach a new set of standards everyone can agree on. What's likely is a long period of uncertainty. And this at time when the auto industry is pouring billions of dollars into figuring out its future path - one that revolves around electric vehicles, autonomous driving and a big step back from fossil fuels.
Automobiles take years to conceive, design, create and test. The industry requires predictability and long time horizons. Requirements that could drastically change at unpredictable intervals can be far worse than rules that might be a little too demanding like the ones implemented under President Obama in 2012.
Rebecca Lindland is an industry analyst with Kelley Blue Book and was involved in an Obama-era review of the standards. She felt, even then, that some easing of standards was warranted, she said.
The problem with the increases in fuel economy envisioned under the Obama plan was that they were based on the expectation of greater consumer demand for hybrid and electric cars than actually materialized. Also, car buyers have shown an even greater demand for SUVs than anyone expected.
"I would like to see a more gradual, less disruptive easing of fuel economy standards," Lindland said. The new proposal, she said, will certainly engender bitter fights.
The Trump administration's proposal would essentially undo the Obama requirements. The proposed changes would freeze fuel economy and emissions standards at 2020 levels and change how emissions are regulated.
John Graham of Indiana University, who worked on fuel economy regulations during the George W. Bush administration, says some automakers would welcome the Trump administration's aggressive approach. For automakers that are further behind on meeting the Obama-era standards, any reprieve would be seen as a help.
"Even if the administration loses, they may end up just having a delay in this whole program," he said.
Automotive fuel economy and emissions requirements are a complex regulatory quilt. Fuel economy is regulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Tailpipe emissions, however, are regulated, on the federal level, by the Environmental Protection Agency. The state of California also regulates tailpipe emissions in its state, and more than a dozen other states follow its lead.
That awkward mix of regulations worked just fine, more or less, for years. That was until, in 2007, courts ruled that the EPA should regulate emissions of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide, which causes global warming, is different from other auto pollutants in that there is simply no way to reduce it beyond reducing the amount of fuel burned. That put the EPA into the position of, essentially, regulating fuel economy.
California also wanted to regulate C02 emissions. That created the nightmare possibility, for the auto industry, of three conflicting sets of fuel economy requirements. The answer, hammered out through negotiations among NHTSA, the EPA, California and the auto industry, was the auto emissions and fuel economy rules announced in 2012.
Besides halting future increases in fuel economy requirements, the Trump administration also wants to take away California's right to set its own vehicle emissions standards. This will be the biggest source of conflict.
While individual automakers have yet to comment on the proposal, the largest industry groups, the Auto Alliance and the Association of Global Automakers, signaled their hope for a quick negotiated agreement.
"With today's release of the Administration's proposals, it's time for substantive negotiations to begin," the groups said in a joint statement. "We urge California and the federal government to find a common sense solution that sets continued increases in vehicle efficiency standards while also meeting the needs of America's drivers."
In the meantime, automakers will probably continue to increase fuel economy of their new vehicles, said Carla Bailo, head of the Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research.
For one thing, the companies have already invested time and money in designing more efficient vehicles. Consumers have been trained, through years of improving fuel economy, to expect better mileage with each new vehicle they buy.
Also, major automakers are global companies and, in other parts of the world, emissions rules are continuing to tighten. Carmakers don't dare stop in their tracks - no matter what the current administration in Washington says.