PNC Bank, Wells Fargo to pay $300M to settle lawsuit alleging they made improper wire transfers
WASHINGTON — PNC bank, Wells bank and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission agreed Thursday to pay a combined $300 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging the banks and their employees made improper transfers to people they were supposed to be serving.
The settlement with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency comes after years of litigation that included a $1.9 billion settlement with Citigroup, which accused the banks of illegally accepting unauthorized wire transfers.
The banks also agreed to pay penalties totaling $150 million.
The agreement includes $250 million to be paid to the Treasury Department and $200 million to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Wells Fargo said it would donate $50 million to a fund that helps Americans rebuild their lives after the financial crisis.
The other banks will each pay a separate $50,000 penalty to the government.
The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which monitors unfair arrest and detention practices, had warned the settlements would be “extremely costly” and “could deter future whistle-blowers.”
Wells Fargo was named in the lawsuit filed by the U,S.
Office of Special Counsel, which is investigating the conduct of the banks.
A spokesman for the regulator declined to comment.
Wells said it agreed to the settlement to “address concerns of the public about the accuracy of its disclosures about wire and electronic money transfers.”
It said it was cooperating fully with the probe and would not be making any further comments.
The settlements also require the banks to implement a new electronic reporting system that will include a database for customers to report suspicious transactions.
The system is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Wells is the second major U.