President Donald Trump tweeted Dec. 8 that the government will continue to pursue fines and penalties against Wells Fargo & Co. despite reports that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's temporary head Mick Mulvaney may let the company off the hook for penalties related to their mortgage lending practices.
"Fines and penalties against Wells Fargo Bank for their bad acts against their customers and others will not be dropped, as has incorrectly been reported, but will be pursued and, if anything, substantially increased. I will cut Regs but make penalties severe when caught cheating!" the tweet stated.
Wells Fargo declined to comment.
Citing "sources familiar with the dispute," Reuters reported Dec. 7 that Mulvaney, who once called the CFPB "a joke," could undo a pending settlement with Wells Fargo over its mortgage rate lock extension fees. The company had been under investigation for allegedly improperly charging the fees, and said in October that it would be issuing refunds. Reuters reported that the CFPB fine could be in the tens of millions of dollars, but short of the $100 million penalty the company faced after its widely publicized scandal involving millions of unauthorized accounts.
Some members of Congress had previously criticized the CFPB for not levying a stronger fine on the company; a report from the Republican-led House Financial Services Committee alleged that the CFPB could have imposed as high as a $10 billion penalty for its violations of consumer law.
Mulvaney has stated publicly that he is reviewing the investigations launched by his predecessor, Richard Cordray. A spokesperson for Mulvaney did not respond to requests for comment on the Wells Fargo matter.