Banking giant Wells Fargo announced it is ending its personal lines of credit in the next few weeks. The bank is shutting down its popular practice of providing personal lines of credit that range between $3,000 to $100,000. The bank sent out letters to its individual customers in the past few days.
Wells Fargo Closing Personal Lines Of Credit
Many Wells Fargo customers use personal lines of credit to help consolidate higher-interest credit card debt. They also use the credit to pay for home renovations or to cover payments and avoid overdraft fees on checking accounts.
According to the letter sent by the bank to its customers, Wells Fargo will now focus on credit cards and personal loans. “Wells Fargo recently reviewed its product offerings and decided to discontinue offering new Personal and Portfolio line of credit accounts and close all existing accounts,” the bank wrote.
Offloading Assets And Deposits
Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf is trying to keep the bank afloat throughout the pandemic by making a series of tough decisions. This includes offloading assets and deposits and moving away from products that the Federal Reserve wants limited. Earlier in 2018, the agency banned Wells Fargo from growing its balance sheet. It can’t do so until the bank fixes its compliance requirements. A previous fake accounts scandal caused this problem earlier.
Those capitalization limits contributed to Wells Fargo losing out on growth opportunities before and during the pandemic. Rivals such as JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America made billions during the period that Wells Fargo’s hands were tied.
Customers Upset With Loss Of Credit
Customers are also upset with the loss of convenient products such as lost lines of credit. Last year, the bank stopped processing all new home equity lines of credit. Later in the same year, Wells Fargo also withdrew from a sizable stake in the auto lending business.
Now, Wells Fargo is simply removing all its traces from its credit program. The Bank also warned customers that account closures “may have an impact on your credit score” so they should act accordingly.
In another part of their letter, Wells Fargo clarified that there won’t be any reviews or reversals once they close an account. “We apologize for the inconvenience this Line of Credit closure will cause,” the bank said. “The account closure is final.”
Did The Federal Cap Cause Removal Of Credit Line?
In removing the credit line for consumers, Wells Fargo didn’t exactly attribute it as something required to stay below the Federal asset cap. Instead, the bank issued a statement explaining their decision. “In an effort to simplify our product offerings, we’ve made the decision to no longer offer personal lines of credit as we feel we can better meet the borrowing needs of our customers through credit card and personal loan products,” the statement read.
A company spokesman also added this remark. “We realize change can be inconvenient, especially when customer credit may be impacted,” However, the bank remains committed to “helping each customer find a credit solution that fits their needs,” the spokesperson said.
With the credit closure, Wells Fargo gives customers a 60-day notice to settle payments. After 60 days, the accounts will automatically close, and any remaining balances will require payments with a fixed interest rate.
In comparison, the credit line offered variable interest rates between 9.5% to 21%. This is why many people remain puzzled by Wells Fargo’s decision. Given the present climate, banks should be offering and accepting loans.
Lately, loan growth is getting harder to come by. A frenzy of loans during the earlier days of the pandemic helped boost banks. However, the federal government’s stimulus money encouraged many companies to pay off debts.
Meanwhile, households had little to spend outside of necessities by staying at home. In fact, big banks experienced the first aggregate drop in loans in more than a decade last year.
Watch the Yahoo Finance video reporting that Wells Fargo will end all existing personal lines of credit:
Do you agree with the timing of Wells Fargo’s decision to stop offering credit lines to customers? Did you find lines of credit useful to you during the pandemic?
Share your experiences and your thoughts about credit lines. Drop your comments below.