A federal judge has ordered Wells Fargo to reveal the names of all borrowers who had student loans that were held in their bank accounts.
More:The government also wants Wells Fargo’s CEO, John Stumpf, to hand over the names and addresses of all employees who accessed the accounts.
The case is part of a larger effort by the Justice Department to crack down on bank fraud that’s been a significant contributor to the economic collapse.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff comes as a coalition of state attorneys general and other legal groups is trying to get a bigger picture of what students are paying on their loans.
The group, the American Bankers Association, has been lobbying the Obama administration for a year on a request to obtain records on student loan borrowers, including student loan debt, that were sold in the private student loan market.
The bank declined the request last year and argued that the records should be protected by the Freedom of Information Act.
In the latest case, the government has asked for records that would reveal the identities of borrowers, their borrowers’ addresses, loan amounts and loan terms.
The information will help investigators identify borrowers who have taken out private student loans, said Michael Hetrick, the assistant U.K. attorney who is leading the investigation.
Stumpf has been a major financial player in the financial services industry for decades.
He is chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo, one of the biggest banks in the country.
According to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Wells Fargo had about $9.3 trillion in assets in 2013, and paid $4.3 billion in fees.
That’s more than the combined gross revenues of the three largest U.N. agencies and the federal government.
Wells Fargo said it had about 1.4 million full-time employees as of the end of 2015.
The Justice Department also wants Stumpff to hand back any information the bank’s CEO had about borrowers.
The government has already sued Wells Fargo for fraud, saying the bank did not tell borrowers about its own hidden student loan fees.
Stumpff and Wells Fargo have denied wrongdoing and say they only tell borrowers they can repay with the money in their accounts.
The bank has also been working to get more transparency in the student loan industry and has said it plans to pay back more than $7 billion to borrowers.
In his ruling Friday, Rakoff said that because Wells Fargo does not make those loans available to borrowers, he cannot order the bank to turn over the records.
He also said that if Wells Fargo doesn’t turn over those records by March 1, it must disclose them to the government.
Rakoff wrote that Wells Fargo has said its customers will not be harmed if they don’t get access to the records, and that it is important that students know about their options.
“As a consumer, if you want to be protected, you have a choice,” he wrote.