CFPB Files Lawsuit against Fifth Third Bank for Opening Unauthorized Accounts

CFPB Files Lawsuit against Fifth Third Bank for Opening Unauthorized Accounts

March 10, 2020         Written By John H. Oldshue

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has filed a lawsuit against Fifth Third Bank for allegedly opening accounts without customer consent. The Bureau asserts the bank opened unauthorized credit card and deposit accounts, enrolled consumers in online banking without their consent, transferred money from existing accounts to unauthorized accounts, and activated lines of credit on customer accounts.

The CFPB alleges that Fifth Third Bank knew about employees opening unauthorized accounts in 2008, but they failed to implement strategies to stop those behaviors. The Bureau says that “for years and continuing through at least 2016,” the bank rewarded employees for cross-selling new products to existing clients. While employee incentives are not harmful on their own, this practice may have fueled the desire to open unauthorized accounts.

The Bureau is seeking compensation for affected customers, along with a civil money penalty.

Elements of this case are reminiscent of the Wells Fargo fake account scandal. Between 2011 and 2015, Wells Fargo employees opened over two million unauthorized credit card and checking accounts for existing customers. The CFPB requested a record-breaking $100 million fine, and other regulators filed for $85 million in fines against the bank. The final settlement amount was $142 million, which only equated to $35 per affected customer.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of March 10, 2020. For up-to-date information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website. Many of the offers on this article are from our affiliate partners, and may be compensated if you take action with any of our affiliate partners.


About John H. Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers credit card rate issues for
View all posts by John H. Oldshue
Featured No Annual Fee Card
Top Features : Earn cash back twice. 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay; 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers
Featured Low Interest Card
Top Features : No annual fee; $150 statement credit after spending $1,200 in first 90 days; 0% on Purchases for 12 months and Balance Transfers for 18 months
Featured Balance Transfer Card
Top Features : 0% APR for 21 months on Balance Transfers and 12 months on Purchases; no annual fee, late fee or penalty rate
Featured Bad Credit Card
Top Features : Reports to all three credit bureaus, perfect credit not required for approval
Featured Fair Credit Card
Top Features : All credit types welcome to apply!