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U.S. watchdog settled for small fine over Wells Fargo phony accounts: report



A consumer watchdog agency could have levied $10 billion in penalties against Wells Fargo & Co last year for opening unauthorized customer accounts, but settled for a fraction of that to resolve the matter quickly, according to regulatory documents released on Tuesday.

The documents, unveiled as part of a report written by congressional Republicans, look set to heighten a fierce partisan debate about the future of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Set up by Democrats in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 financial crisis to protect consumers against abuses by large institutions, the CFPB is loathed by Republicans who criticize it as a wayward agency that lacks proper oversight.

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