b'Other federal and state regulators likewise encouragedCalifornia, Colorado, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Texas, financial institutions to provide concessions toand Washington saw an increase in fraudulent claims consumers struggling due to COVID-19. For example,for unemployment benefits and have reported billions the OCC encouraged consumer credit providersof dollars in fraud, leaving some financial institutions at to, among other things, waive certain fees andrisk of litigation. In many instances, fraudsters not only increase credit limits for some borrowers. Californiaswithdrew initial funds from these cards but also sought Commissioner of Business Oversight issuedand received additional temporary credit from the guidance encouraging financial institutions to waiveissuing financial institution. Financial institutions should credit card late payment fees, increase credit cardpay careful attention to the use (and misuse) of prepaid limits for creditworthy borrowers and offer paymentcards containing government-issued benefits, and be accommodations. As another example, Illinoisaware of the increased risk of litigation and potential Department of Financial and Professional Regulationregulatory inquiry or action. issued a statement release strongly urg[ing] banks and credit unions to respond to borrowers affected by the current economic environment by offering payment2020 Highlightsaccommodations and increases in credit card limits. DOJ Reaches $3 Billion Settlement with Wells Fargo Over Unauthorized AccountsIn February, the DOJ announced a $3 billion settlement As the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemicand deferred prosecution of Wells Fargo & Company carry into 2021, financial institutionsand Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (Wells Fargo), resolving claims that, as a result of Wells Fargos cross selling should be mindful of the end-date of suchsales strategy, the bank employees provided millions of guidance. As the COVID-19 threat lessensnew accounts or products to existing customers without consent between 2002 and 2016. The settlementor, alternatively, as financial institutionsresolves a criminal investigation concerning false bank and regulators become more comfortablerecords and identity theft; civil allegations that Wells Fargo violated the FIRREA by creating false bank operating within the economic environmentrecords; and a cease-and-desist proceeding by the brought on by the pandemicthe industrySecurities Exchange Commission (SEC). This settlement followed Wells Fargos $575 million settlement with should prepare for these relaxed measuresattorneys general of all 50 states and the District of to tighten back up again. Columbia in 2018, as well as its $185 million settlement with the CFPB, OCC, and Los Angeles City Attorney in 2016, concerning the same alleged conduct. TheDOJ stated that it considered a number of factors 2020 also saw an increase in the use of prepaid debitin agreeing to a deferred criminal prosecution and civil cards to deliver unemployment benefits and othersettlement, including the banks cooperation in the relief to consumers from the COVID-19 pandemic.investigation and admission of wrongdoing, among This increase in prepaid card activity also came withother things. The deferred prosecution agreement will an increase in related fraud. States including Arizona,be in effect for three years. 29'