Wells Fargo is a multinational financial services company with a long and rich history. It was founded in 1852 by Henry Wells and William G. Fargo, who also helped establish the American Express Company. Wells Fargo started as an express and banking business that served the western United States during the gold rush era. It operated a network of stagecoaches, steamships, railroads, and telegraphs to transport money, mail, and goods across the country. Wells Fargo also became a leader in banking, offering loans, deposits, checks, and other services to individuals and businesses. The company operates in 35 countries and serves over 70 million customers worldwide.
Headquarters: San Francisco, California, United States
Stock price: WFC (NYSE) $41.00 +0.57 (+1.41%)
Sep 8, 4:03 pm EDT – Disclaimer
CEO: Charles W. Scharf (Oct 21, 2019–)
COO: Scott Powell
Founder: William Fargo
Founded: 1852, New York, New York, United States
President: Charles W. Scharf
Products and Services
- Banking: Wells Fargo provides checking, savings, and CD accounts, as well as credit and debit cards, for personal and business customers. Wells Fargo offers online and mobile banking, bill pay, and Zelle® for money transfers.
- Loans and Credit: Wells Fargo offers mortgage, home equity, personal, student, and auto loans, as well as credit lines, for various purposes. Wells Fargo also provides tools and resources to help customers manage their debt and improve their credit.
- Investing and Retirement: Wells Fargo Advisors helps customers plan and invest for their financial goals, such as retirement, education, or wealth management. Wells Fargo Advisors offers a wide range of investment products and services, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, annuities, IRAs, 529 plans, and advisory programs.
- Wealth Management: Wells Fargo Private Bank provides customized solutions for high-net-worth individuals and families, such as investment management, trust and estate services, private banking, philanthropy, and family office services.
- Business Services: Wells Fargo offers products and services for small businesses, such as checking and savings accounts, credit cards, loans and lines of credit, payroll services, merchant services, and business insurance. Wells Fargo also serves larger businesses with corporate banking, commercial real estate, treasury management, capital markets, and investment banking solutions.
Mortgages and Loans
- Home Mortgage Customer Service
Mon – Fri: 7 am – 10 pm
Sat: 8 am – 2 pm
Mon – Fri: 7 am – 8 pm
Saturday: 8 am – 6 pm
- Apply for a mortgage.
- Mortgage Military Customer Service
Mon – Fri: 6 am – 8 pm
Sat: 8 am – 2 pm
- Mortgage FAQs
- Home Equity Customer Service
Mon – Fri: 7 am – 9 pm
Sat: 8 am – 2 pm
- Auto Loans
Mon – Thurs: 7 am – 10 pm
Fri: 7 am – 9 pm
Sat: 7 am – 5:30 pm
- Auto Loans FAQs
- Personal Loans
To open a new account: 1-877-526-6332
Mon – Fri: 8 am – 7 pm
- Learn more about Personal Loans
- Personal Loan FAQs
- Personal Lines of Credit:
Mon – Fri: 7 am – 7 pm
- Personal Loans
Mon – Fri: 7 am – 7 pm
- Flex Loans
Mon – Fri: 7 am – 7 pm
Wells Fargo’s history from 1980 to 1990
- In 1980, Wells Fargo became the first central bank in the United States to offer online banking services to its customers, using a system called Wells Fargo Online Account Access.
- In 1982, Wells Fargo acquired Crocker National Corporation, a large California-based bank struggling with bad loans and losses. The merger made Wells Fargo the second-largest bank in California and the seventh-largest in the nation.
- In 1983, Wells Fargo introduced the Stagecoach Card, a debit card that allowed customers to access their checking accounts at ATMs and point-of-sale terminals. The card was later renamed the Wells Fargo Check Card.
- In 1986, Wells Fargo became the first central bank to offer a credit card with no annual fee, the Wells Fargo Prime Plus Card. The card offered a low-interest rate based on the prime rate and was designed to attract customers who paid their balances in full each month.
- In 1987, Wells Fargo acquired Barclays Bank of California, the U.S. subsidiary of the British banking giant Barclays PLC. The acquisition expanded Wells Fargo’s presence in Southern California and added $5 billion in assets.
- In 1988, Wells Fargo launched its first national advertising campaign, featuring the slogan “The Next Stage”. The campaign highlighted Wells Fargo’s innovative products and services, such as online banking, debit cards, no-fee credit cards, and 24-hour customer service.
- In 1989, Wells Fargo celebrated its 100th anniversary of operating in Alaska, where it had been providing banking services since the gold rush era. Wells Fargo also sponsored the centennial celebration of the Alaska Purchase, which marked the transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States in 1867.
- In 1990, Wells Fargo faced a hostile takeover bid from First Interstate Bancorp, another large California-based bank that wanted to create the largest bank in the West. Wells Fargo resisted the offer and launched a counter-bid to acquire First Interstate instead. The takeover battle lasted several months and ended with both banks remaining independent.
Wells Fargo activities and performance from 2020 to 2023
In 2020, Wells Fargo faced the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected its customers, employees, and communities. Wells Fargo provided relief and support to millions of customers affected by the crisis, such as deferring payments, waiving fees, suspending foreclosures and repossessions, and participating in the Paycheck Protection Program. Wells Fargo also donated $175 million to help address food, shelter, small business, and housing stability needs.
- In 2020, Wells Fargo continued its efforts to address its legacy issues and rebuild stakeholder trust. Wells Fargo resolved several significant legal matters, such as the sales practices settlement with federal and state authorities, the fake accounts class action settlement, and the foreign exchange criminal investigation. Wells Fargo also made significant progress in enhancing its risk management and control functions and meeting the requirements of the consent orders imposed by regulators.
- In 2021, Wells Fargo announced a new strategic plan to simplify its business model and focus on its core strengths. Wells Fargo decided to divest or exit some non-core businesses, such as asset management, student lending, rail leasing, and corporate trust services. Wells Fargo also reorganized its operating segments into four critical lines of business: Consumer & Small Business Banking, Commercial Banking, Corporate & Investment Banking, and Wealth and Investment Management.
- In 2021, Wells Fargo launched several new products and initiatives to enhance its customer experience and value proposition. For example, Wells Fargo introduced the Active Cash Card, a no-annual-fee credit card that offers 2% cash rewards on all purchases. Wells Fargo also expanded its digital capabilities by adding Zelle® payment features, enhancing mobile deposit limits, and offering online account openings for business customers. Wells Fargo also invested in innovation and technology partnerships, such as joining the Clearing House’s real-time payments network and collaborating with Microsoft and Google on cloud services.
- In 2022, Wells Fargo reported strong financial results for the entire year despite the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic and the low-interest rate environment. Wells Fargo’s net income increased by 25% from 2020 to $18.3 billion, driven by higher revenue, lower provision for credit losses, and improved efficiency. Wells Fargo’s return on assets improved from 0.4% in 2020 to 0.8% in 2022, while its return on equity improved from 3.9% in 2020 to 7.6% in 2022. Wells Fargo also increased its quarterly dividend from $0.10 per share in 2020 to $0.20 per share in 2022 and repurchased $18 billion of common stock during the year
- In 2023, Wells Fargo continued to execute its strategic plan and deliver value to its customers and shareholders. Wells Fargo completed the divestiture or exit of several non-core businesses, generating $10 billion in proceeds and freeing up capital and resources for its core businesses. Wells Fargo also achieved significant milestones in meeting the expectations of its regulators and lifting the consent orders. Wells Fargo also launched new products and services to meet the evolving needs of its customers, such as offering cryptocurrency trading and custody, providing green financing solutions, and partnering with fintech companies to offer digital banking platforms.
Customers With Wells Fargo Mortgages, Auto Financing and Deposit Accounts Entitled to Relief
The consumer abuses spanned several product lines and affected more than 16 million Wells Fargo accounts, according to the CFPB. The agency says the bank wrongfully foreclosed on homes and repossessed cars, hit customers with erroneous overdraft fees, improperly closed accounts, and slapped some consumers with monthly charges that should have been waived.
Wells Fargo stated that it’s working to address unacceptable practices.
“This far-reaching agreement is an important milestone in our work to transform the operating practices at Wells Fargo and to put these issues behind us,” said Charlie Scharf, Wells Fargo’s CEO. “Our top priority is to continue to build a risk and control infrastructure that reflects the size and complexity of Wells Fargo and run the company in a more controlled, disciplined way.”
Wells Fargo has yet to respond to a request from Forbes Advisor for additional comment.
- The bank has reported that its profits for the fourth quarter of 2022 plunged 50% from a year earlier, partly due to the settlement cost.
- One prominent critic of Wells Fargo says regulators should come down even harder on the company. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted mid-January that the banking giant is “too big to manage.”
- “It’s long past time for regulators like Acting Comptroller [of the Currency Michael] Hsu to use their authority to break up lawbreaking banks and prevent future harm to consumers once and for all
Wells Fargo Deposit Accounts
Customers whose accounts were improperly closed or frozen, falsely charged overdraft fees, or mistakenly billed account service fees may be eligible for refunds.
- More than 5 million customers were affected
- They’re owed more than $500 million in remediation
Mortgage Servicing Customers
Wells Fargo made several errors that impacted mortgage customers, including incorrectly denying loan modifications to eligible customers, improperly charging fees, and miscalculating interest rates on some adjustable-rate mortgages.
- Thousands of customers were affected by mortgage errors
- They’re owed more than $195 million in remediation