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Wells Fargo has disclosed the sharpest drop in credit card applications since the scandal over sham accounts erupted six months ago, a sign the bank is still struggling to move on from the crisis.

Credit card applications dropped 55 per cent in February from a year ago — the biggest year-on-year decline since Wells began disclosing the monthly figures last October.

The number of customers who opened checking accounts meanwhile fell 43 per cent, the second steepest monthly fall in the period.

The scale of the decline could be explained in part by the fact that 2016 was a leap year, resulting in an extra day.

Mary Mack, head of community banking, said:

After factoring in day count differences, February trends were generally similar to January’s and were within our expectations.

It will take time for us to work through the changes we are making in our business, but we remain focused on strengthening our relationships with existing customers and building new ones with potential customers.

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