Wells Fargo is a prominent financial services company in the United States that offers a wide range of financial products and services, including banking, investment, and insurance services to individuals, businesses, and institutions. With over 8,000 locations across the U.S. and a global customer base exceeding 70 million, Wells Fargo has established itself as one of the largest financial services providers in the world.
As a diversified financial services company, Wells Fargo has a primary focus on banking, investments, and insurance. It is among the top ten largest banks in the United States, and its comprehensive suite of services includes consumer banking, business banking, credit cards, commercial and corporate banking, investments, and more.
Wells Fargo's unwavering dedication to customer service has contributed significantly to its success. The company has a vast network of branches and ATMs across the country, making its services easily accessible to customers. Additionally, Wells Fargo has earned a reputation for its commitment to customer satisfaction, offering personalized and tailored financial solutions to meet the unique needs of its clients.
Overall, Wells Fargo's extensive range of financial products and services, coupled with its commitment to customer satisfaction, have positioned the company as a leading player in the financial services industry.
Henry Wells and William G. Fargo, who established American Express in 1852, created Wells Fargo & Company to offer banking and express services to California in response to the state's quick development caused by the California Gold Rush. In March 1860, Wells Fargo took over the Butterfield Overland Mail Company when Congress didn't pass the annual post office appropriation bill, leaving the post office without the means to pay for Overland Mail Company's services and Overland without a way to compensate Wells Fargo. Consequently, Wells Fargo controlled the western segment of the Pony Express.
Wells Fargo has a rich and complex history that spans over a century. In 1866, the company underwent a "Grand Consolidation" that united Wells Fargo, Holladay, and Overland Mail stage lines under the Wells Fargo name.
Throughout the years, the company has had various presidents, including Lloyd Tevis, John J. Valentine, Sr., and Dudley Evans. In 1905, Wells Fargo split its banking and express operations, with the bank merging with the Nevada National Bank to form the Wells Fargo Nevada National Bank.
During World War I, the U.S. government nationalized Wells Fargo's express franchise into a federal agency known as the US Railway Express Agency (REA). In 1923, Wells Fargo Nevada merged with the Union Trust Company to form the Wells Fargo Bank & Union Trust Company, which in 1954 was shortened to Wells Fargo Bank.
The company has undergone numerous mergers and acquisitions, including with American Trust Company and Crocker National Bank. In 1996, Wells Fargo acquired First Interstate Bancorp for $11.6 billion, and in 1998, Wells Fargo Bank was acquired by Norwest Corporation of Minneapolis. The combined company took on the Wells Fargo name.
In 2008, Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia for about $14.8 billion in stock, following a dispute with Citigroup. This acquisition made Wells Fargo the largest retail bank in the United States. However, during the financial crisis of 2008, Wells Fargo received $25 billion of funds via the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.
In 2009, Wells Fargo acquired North Coast Surety Insurance Services, followed by the hiring of 25 investment bankers from Citadel LLC in 2011. In 2012, the company acquired Merlin Securities and rebranded it as Wells Fargo Prime Services, and also acquired a 35% stake in The Rock Creek Group LP, which was later increased to 65% before being sold back to management in 2018.
In 2015, Wells Fargo Rail acquired GE Capital Rail Services and merged it with First Union Rail, and also acquired three GE units focused on business loans equipment financing. In 2017, the company announced plans to offer smartphone-based transactions with mobile wallets including Wells Fargo Wallet, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay.
The company also underwent significant restructuring in the form of divestitures and job cuts. In 2018, Wells Fargo sold all 52 of its physical bank branch locations in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio to Flagstar Bank, and announced plans to cut 26,450 jobs by 2020 to reduce costs by $4 billion.
In 2019, the company experienced turmoil as CEO Tim Sloan resigned amidst the Wells Fargo account fraud scandal, and former general counsel C. Allen Parker became interim CEO. The company also sold its Institutional Retirement & Trust business to Principal Financial Group.
Later that year, Charles Scharf was announced as the new CEO of the company. In 2020, Wells Fargo sold its student loan portfolio, and in 2021 it sold its Canadian Direct Equipment Finance business to Toronto-Dominion Bank. The company also sold its asset management division, Wells Fargo Asset Management (WFAM), to private equity firms GTCR and Reverence Capital Partners for $2.1 billion, and rebranded it as Allspring Global Investments. As of December 31, 2020, WFAM had $603 billion in assets under management, of which 33% was invested in money market funds.
The mission of Wells Fargo is to help customers succeed financially by providing reliable guidance and serving their full range of financial needs. This mission is supported by the company's vision statement, which states that they want to satisfy all of their customers' financial needs and help them succeed financially.
Wells Fargo's ultimate objective is to be the most respected and highly valued financial services company in the world. They are devoted to putting customers first, doing what's right for them, and generating lasting returns for all stakeholders involved. To reach this goal, Wells Fargo has developed a culture that values integrity, teamwork and innovation. They strive to make sure that customers have access to the best financial products and services available, and to ensure that the customer experience is exceptional. Wells Fargo also works to create a workplace of inclusion and respect, where employees are empowered to do their best work. The company supports a wide range of community initiatives and charitable activities and is committed to sustainable business practices that help protect the environment. Wells Fargo is dedicated to helping its customers, employees, and shareholders achieve financial success.
Wells Fargo offers a comprehensive array of financial services to cater to diverse needs. For individual customers, their retail banking services encompass a wide selection of checking and savings accounts, along with debit and prepaid cards, all conveniently accessible through online banking. Furthermore, Wells Fargo extends an assortment of lending solutions, spanning personal loans, home equity loans, auto loans, and student loans.
Addressing the requirements of businesses of all scales, Wells Fargo's commercial banking services are designed to provide tailored support. They encompass a spectrum of offerings such as checking and savings accounts, merchant services, business loans, and efficient cash management solutions.
In the realm of mortgage banking, Wells Fargo provides customers with an array of mortgage choices, encompassing fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, and government-backed options. Customers also benefit from refinancing alternatives and home equity loans.
For those seeking wealth management guidance, Wells Fargo presents a suite of investment and financial planning possibilities. This includes comprehensive services like portfolio management, trust management, and retirement planning.
Lastly, Wells Fargo's insurance services present customers with a versatile range of insurance products, encompassing auto, homeowners, and life insurance options.
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Steven Black (Chairman)
Charles Scharf (President and CEO)
Financial and Banking