Wells Fargo Hosts Annual Shareholders Meeting in North Texas, Greeted by Protesters

Wells Fargo, one of the nation's largest banks, is holding its annual shareholders meeting in North Texas Tuesday.

It comes just weeks after the company's CEO resigned -- and its leaders were sharply rebuked by lawmakers and regulators in Washington, DC, who publicly expressed their disappointment in the bank's efforts to change its ways following several high profile scandals involving its business practices.

In 2016, Wells Fargo was ordered to pay a $185 million settlement after investigators discovered employees were opening deposit and credit card accounts for customers without their knowledge or consent -- all in an effort to meet sales goals.

Then in 2018, the company agreed to a $1 billion settlement following accusations it charged auto loan customers for insurance they didn't need -- and improperly charged certain mortgage customers to lock in interest rates.

The banking giant has spent the better part of the past two-and-a-half years working to repair its image and rebuild trust. 

While the search for a new permanent CEO continues, Wells Fargo insists it is making progress and has made significant changes to its business practices. 

In a written statement to NBC 5, a company spokesperson said:

"Over the last two years, Wells Fargo has been working diligently to address and resolve the problems of the past, and take care of our customers promptly and fairly. Wells Fargo works every day to operate our business at the highest levels of professionalism and integrity."

But not everyone believes them.

An advocacy group called the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America has launched a campaign urging people not to do business with Wells Fargo, labeling the company as a "corrupt organization that needs to be fundamentally changed."

They organized a protest at DFW Airport, where the shareholders meeting is taking place -- at one point trying to disrupt the meeting.

Among the people who joined them was Niameh Freeman, who said Wells Fargo opened more than dozen accounts in her name and her business' name without her consent.

Although she no longer banks with them, she says the ordeal ruined her credit -- a problem that still affects her today.

"I didn't see any change until 2019 which is when I finally closed my accounts," said Freeman. "From 2007 until 2019, I was loyal to this company because I expected them to do the right thing. And nothing has been done. I'm a real person with a real name and a real family who deserved better. And nothing has been done."

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