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Wells Fargo’s ad campaign addresses sales scandal

In this  2012 file photo, a Wells Fargo sign is displayed at a branch in New York. (CX Matiash / Associated Press)
In this 2012 file photo, a Wells Fargo sign is displayed at a branch in New York. (CX Matiash / Associated Press)
By Ken Sweet Associated Press

NEW YORK – Wells Fargo launched a new advertising campaign this week to address the company’s ongoing sales practices scandal and what it is doing to make things right for its customers.

The television campaign, which launched Monday, is being rolled out nationally on major network evening newscasts as well as the Sunday talk shows. Wells is also buying ads on the major Spanish language networks Telemundo and Univision, said Wells Fargo spokesman Mark Folk.

The TV ads supplement print and digital ads Wells Fargo rolled out earlier this month. The campaign is expected to run for at least the next couple of months, Folk said. Radio ads are expected started next week.

“The commercial reiterates Wells Fargo’s commitment to customers and the steps we are taking to move forward and make things right,” Folk said.

Wells Fargo is embroiled in the biggest scandal in its 164-year history after the bank admitted that it opened up to 2 million bank and credit card accounts without customers’ authorization. The scandal led to the abrupt retirement this month of its CEO, John Stumpf.

The bank faces several class-action lawsuits, as well as criminal investigations by the Department of Justice and the California attorney general’s office.

There are also concerns that customers are leaving the bank, or at least paring back their business with Wells. In its quarterly earnings report released earlier this month, Wells reported double-digit drops in bank account openings as well as drops in bank branch traffic.

A study by consulting firm cg42 of 1,000 Wells Fargo customers released this week showed that while only 3 percent of Wells Fargo customers said they were impacted by the practices, roughly 14 percent of customers surveyed said they planned to switch banks in the next 12 to 18 months.

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