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Wells Fargo Starts Nationwide TV Commercials Addressing Scandal

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Wells Fargo & Co., trying to quell a scandal that has engulfed its consumer bank, will start broadcasting nationwide television commercials Monday night, outlining steps it has taken to halt abuses.

The move escalates a public-relations campaign that has featured advertisements online and in newspapers, as the firm tries to convince customers it’s putting their interests first. Authorities fined the bank $185 million last month, saying branch workers may have opened more than 2 million unauthorized deposit accounts and credit cards over half a decade.

“The advertising reiterates Wells Fargo’s commitment to customers and the steps we are taking to move forward and make things right,” Mark Folk, a company spokesman, said in an interview. Some ads will air during Sunday morning talk shows, and the push will include networks Univision and Telemundo, he said.

The commercials will start just hours after management consultancy cg42 released a poll showing 14 percent of Wells Fargo customers have decided to leave the bank, potentially withdrawing billions of dollars and crimping revenue. Still, such an exodus hasn’t been reflected in figures released by the lender so far.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan said Oct. 14 that customer traffic at branches and call centers remained at typical levels in September while deposit balances rose by $6.5 billion from the previous month. Folk declined to provide updated figures.

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