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Kopp hints at Md.’s possible split with Wells Fargo

Maryland might move away from its banking relationship with Wells Fargo following a scandal in which the bank was fined $185 million for opening unauthorized accounts.

State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp on Wednesday said a number of state agencies have accounts with Wells Fargo which they will be allowed to keep at least in the near term.

RELATED: Maryland’s business with Wells Fargo up to attorney general, BPW

Maryland Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp (File photo)

Maryland Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp (File photo)

“We have agency accounts that are being very carefully watched and audited and accounted for,” Kopp said. “We are not going to tell all the agencies that they cannot do any banking (with Wells Fargo).”

But Kopp hinted that the state might move their accounts elsewhere.

“When the contracts come up, obviously we want to have a relationship with good citizens,” Kopp said.

If so, Maryland would follow California and most recently Illinois in ending its business relationship with Wells Fargo.

Both California and Illinois announced they would no longer buy or sell bonds through Wells Fargo after the bank announced a settlement with federal regulators.

As part of that settlement, the bank was fined $185 million but admitted no wrongdoing in a scandal involving bank employees who opened more than 2 million unauthorized credit card and bank card accounts and charged account holders fees in an effort to meet sales goals. About 5,300 bank employees lost their jobs in the aftermath of the announced settlement.

And while the securities and commercial banking are separate businesses for Well Fargo, California and Illinois both have decided, at least for now, to end their relationships with the bank.

“I just want to tell you that Wells Fargo does not have that relationship with the state of Maryland or with our general fund,” Kopp said. “We do not use them as underwriters. They’re not underwriting our bonds at the moment nor are they are brokers.”