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Wachovia, one of the biggest retail banks in the US, put itself up for sale last night after a tumultuous day for banking shares across the world.
Wachovia Corp. shares plummeted 43 percent last week as it reportedly began talks Friday with Citigroup about a possible merger.
Wachovia Corp. will pay as much as $144 million to settle a U.S. regulator's claims that the bank's poor oversight allowed telemarketers and payment processors to withdraw millions of dollars from customers' accounts.
Wachovia, the fourth-largest U.S. bank, will pay as much as $125 million in restitution to customers, a $10 million civil penalty and $8.9 million for consumer-education programs, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said today in a statement on its Web site. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank agreed to the settlement without admitting or denying wrongdoing, the Washington-based OCC said.
The settlement stems from an 18-month investigation that determined Wachovia profited from fees and other charges on accounts maintained by payment processors and telemarketers who took advantage of thousands of consumers, most of them elderly, from June 2003 through December 2006.