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Wells Fargo INSISTS Recent Pay Raises Are Not Related To Sales Scandal

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

Wells Fargo is the latest multinational bank to announce that it is raising its minimum wage for U.S. workers, according to recent reports.

Wells Fargo is upping its minimum wage from $12 an hour to $13.50, and this change will take effect Sunday. The increase will initially impact 25,000 mid-to-entry level employees, including bank tellers, phone bankers, and customer service representatives. Minimum pay will range from just over $13 an hour, and go as high as $17 an hour. Wells Fargo’s old pay range is between $12 and $16, the Charlotte Observer reports.

Many big banks are making the move towards higher minimum wages, in hopes to retain talent in an industry that is both ultra-competitive and becoming increasingly mechanized.

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon announced in July that the firm would raise minimum pay for 18,000 low-tier employees somewhere “between $12 and $16.50 an hour for full-time, part-time and new employees, depending on geographic and market factors.” Dimon hopes the raise will “attract and retain talented people.” Bank of America also plans to raise its minimum wage to $15, up from $13.50 an hour. (RELATED: The Death Of The Banker)

Wells Fargo insists the pay raise is not in any way a public relations response to recent scandals. “This is part of our normal course of business where we understand what’s happening in the competitive landscape and how we retain and attract top talent,” a Wells Fargo spokeswoman told reporters.

Wells Fargo made a big splash when news broke that the firm may have committed fraud against thousands of customers nationwide. Bank employees issued 565,000 lines of credit and opened 1.5 million bank accounts for customers without their consent between 2011-2014, and sometimes created false email addresses to sign them up for banking services in order to pad numbers. Some 14,000 of those credit accounts accrued over $400,000 in fees alone. (RELATED: DOJ Demands Wells Fargo Whistleblower Testify In Formal Investigation)

Initially, Wells Fargo was slapped by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) with a $185 million fine — the largest ever imposed by the federal agency — after finding the practices in question were rampant and pervasive throughout Wells Fargo’s business model in the years since 2011.

After undergoing through a lengthy investigatory process, the bank settled the scandal by removing former chief executive John Stumpf. In recent weeks, the bank launched a campaign to make good with customers and with the public. (RELATED: Wells Fargo On A Quest To Make Good After Sales Scandal)

Wells Fargo stock largely recovered from the scandal, up 10 points since October.

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