Industry News

Wells Fargo offers financial counseling to subprime borrowers

'Steps to Success' meets with skepticism from consumer group, congressman

Wells Fargo & Co. has launched an educational program to help subprime borrowers keep their credit in good standing, even as it faces a possible class-action lawsuit over its lending practices and as Congress considers tighter limits on exotic loans. Wells Fargo's "Steps To Success" program includes free access to credit records and bilingual "financial literacy" advice to borrowers who take out subprime loans with the bank. A spokesman for consumer advocacy group ACORN told the Associated Press that it's cheaper for Wells Fargo to give away free credit reports than "to compensate people for the excessive interest rates that they charged in the past." ACORN -- The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- is supporting a lawsuit that alleges the bank charged subprime borrowers exorbitant fees and interest rates. The suit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, seeks class-action status to represent borrowers dating back to December 1999. Wells Fargo said the law...