Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C., a nationally recognized shareholder rights law firm, reminds investors that a class action lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of investors that purchased Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) securities between February 2, 2018 and May 5, 2020 (the "Class Period"). Investors have until August 3, 2020 to apply to the Court to be appointed as lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
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On April 5, 2020, Wells Fargo announced that it had received strong interest in the Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP"), a program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the "CARES Act"), and was targeting to distribute a total of $10 billion to small business customers under the requirements of the PPP.
On April 8, 2020, the Federal Reserve announced that it would allow Wells Fargo to exceed the asset cap that it had imposed on Wells Fargo in 2018 after revelations that the Company had opened millions of accounts in customers’ names without their permission, a change which would allow Wells Fargo to make additional small business loans as part of the PPP.
That same day, Wells Fargo issued a press release stating, in relevant part, that, "beginning immediately, in response to the actions by the Federal Reserve, [Wells Fargo] will expand its participation in the [PPP] and offer loans to a broader set of its small business and nonprofit customers subject to the terms of the program."
On April 19, 2020, after at least one lawsuit was filed against the Company, reports emerged that Wells Fargo may have unfairly allocated government-backed loans under the PPP. For example, USA Today reported that "[t]he lawsuit filed on behalf of small business owners on Sunday alleges that Wells Fargo unfairly prioritized businesses seeking large loan amounts, while the government’s small business agency has said that PPP loan applications would be processed on a first-come, first-served basis." According to the lawsuit, "[t]he move by Wells Fargo meant that the bank would receive millions more dollars in processing fees," and, "[m]aking matters worse, Wells Fargo concealed from the public that it was reshuffling the PPP applications it received and prioritizing the applications that would make the bank the most money."
Following this news, Wells Fargo’s stock price fell more than 5% over two trading days to close at $26.84 per share on April 21, 2020.
Finally, on May 5, 2020, Wells Fargo filed a quarterly report on Form 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission, disclosing, in addition to multiple PPP-related lawsuits initiated against the Company, that Wells Fargo had "received formal and informal inquiries from federal and state governmental agencies regarding its offering of PPP loans."
Following this news, Wells Fargo’s stock price fell by more than 6% over two trading days from its closing price on May 4, 2020, closing at $25.61 per share on May 6, 2020.
The complaint, filed on June 4, 2020, alleges that throughout the Class Period defendants made materially false and/or misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material adverse facts about Wells Fargo’s business, operations, and prospects. Specifically, defendants failed to disclose to investors that: (i) Wells Fargo planned to, and did, improperly allocate government-backed loans under the PPP, and/or had inadequate controls in place to prevent such misallocation; (ii) the foregoing foreseeably increased the Company’s litigation risk with respect to PPP allocation, as well as increased regulatory scrutiny and/or potential enforcement actions; and (iii) as a result, the Company’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times.
If you purchased Wells Fargo securities during the Class Period, are a long-term stockholder, have information, would like to learn more about these claims, or have any questions concerning this announcement or your rights or interests with respect to these matters, please contact Melissa Fortunato or Marion Passmore by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone at (212) 355-4648, or by filling out this contact form. There is no cost or obligation to you.
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