Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on security in Afghanistan and in the regions of South and Central Asia, in Dirksen Building on Tuesday, October 26, 2021.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
In a letter sent Tuesday to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency obtained exclusively by CNBC, Warren cited a May 4 report by Capitol Forum, a Washington-based investigative news outfit, that alleged that TD used tactics similar to those in the Wells Fargo fake accounts scandal.
TD, a Toronto-based bank with 1,100 branches in the U.S., is seeking regulatory approval for the acquisition of Tennessee-based First Horizon. The massive deal, announced in February, is part of TD CEO Bharat Masrani’s push to expand in the U.S. Southeast. Banks have been swept up in a wave of consolidation in recent years as lenders seek to gain scale, cut costs and invest in fintech to compete with megabanks such as JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.
“As TD Bank seeks approval from your agency to increase their market share and become the sixth-largest bank in the U.S., the OCC should closely examine any ongoing wrongdoing and block any merger until TD Bank is held responsible for its abusive practices,” said Warren, D-Mass.
TD employed a point system and bonuses to incentivize workers to open customer accounts and opt into overdraft protection, and workers could lose their jobs if they didn’t meet goals, Warren said in a letter to acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu.
Workers were instructed to create four new accounts for each customer — checking, savings, online and a debit card — and opened accounts even if a consumer declined one of the options, according to the Capitol Forum report.
That was one of several strategies cited by the news organization, including fabricating reasons such as fraud alerts to call consumers in the hope of convincing them to open more accounts, opening new accounts rather than simply replacing missing debit cards, and misstating key aspects of overdraft programs to encourage their adoption. Problems existed in branches all along TD’s U.S. footprint, from Florida to Maine, the report stated.
CNBC couldn’t independently confirm the details of the Capitol Forum report, which cited current and former TD Bank employees as well as other sources.
The bank also faces a class-action lawsuit in Canada related to the pressure employees were allegedly under to make sales, according to a 2021 CBC news report, which stated that hundreds of employees had contacted the news outlet with similar anecdotes.
In a four-paragraph response provided to CNBC by a bank spokesman, TD said…