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Democratic lawmaker asks Wells Fargo to refund passed-on costs from fines

Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., asked Wells Fargo & Co. to pay back the IT vendors who refunded the bank some of the revenue they made from contracts with Wells Fargo, Reuters reported.

Porter said that demanding partial refunds from the vendors was the bank's way of recouping part of the regulatory fines it has paid, according to the report. The bank should refund the vendors by Jan. 30, the representative said.

In a letter to Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf, Porter said the company asked 14 of its IT vendors to return 2.5% of revenue earned in 2018 over claims that its sales-practices scandals benefited them, the report said.

Porter, who is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, said these small businesses had no role in the bank's misdeeds. Asking for a rebate due to higher costs from regulatory backlash goes against the fines' intent to "discourage continued bad behavior," she wrote in the letter, according to Reuters.

Another Reuters report in November 2019 said that some of the vendors who paid Wells Fargo felt pressured to do so over fears of lost future business, the report said.

Wells Fargo representatives previously said it will not consider a vendor's participation in the voluntary rebate in awarding future contracts.

The company did not immediately answer a request for comment from Reuters.