Financial strain is one of the biggest stressors (if not the biggest) facing most Americans today. Not having enough money, or not understanding how to work toward achieving financial stability, can place a great deal of undue strain and frustration on anyone. That’s why Wells Fargo was formed: to assist customers find a healthier financial life through a number of related services.
For laymen, trying to work out the best financial moves can cause headaches, and that’s what Wells Fargo works to avoid. Their central ethos revolves around the idea that customers’ financial needs can best be served by a trusted advisor who understands individual customers’ situations and goals.
Wells Fargo offers products and services for individuals, small businesses, and commercial entities. This includes banking, mortgage, investment, and financing assistance all through a single institution. With 7,700 locations in more than 30 countries, it appears that Wells Fargo’s services have been well-received by the masses.
A History of Dealing with Fortune
Wells Fargo was established in San Francisco in 1852, in the wake of the great California Gold Rush. The company allowed prospectors to bring in their gold and exchange it for paper bank drafts of the same value so they wouldn’t have to carry the precious treasure with them.
It wasn’t only finances Wells Fargo worked in, though. They also had a hand in deliveries of all sorts of goods, using any mode of transportation that would allow for the fastest delivery time. Wells Fargo became synonymous with delivery as America’s first nationwide express company; the revolutionary nature of this can still be felt through cultural contributions written about the era.
When the federal government took over the business of express mailing, Wells Fargo was left as only a financial institution once more. In the decades that followed, Wells Fargo expanded the financial services they offered customers and the ease with which they offered them, establishing the company as a reputable source for financial assistance even today.
The Big Four
Wells Fargo is one of the four biggest banks in the U.S., meaning that it’s in direct competition with three other financial giants. J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America make up the rest of the “big four.”
Each of these banks is long established in America, and they have been competing for decades. Wells Fargo currently sits in third place out of these four, behind J.P Morgan Chase and Bank of America.
An Evolving Image
Wells Fargo maintained a relatively stable identity over the course of its 167 year life, but it has announced some steps toward establishing an updated identity in recent years. Along with visual tweaks, the company’s ads will hit on the brand’s trustworthiness, use of technology, and human ingenuity to establish visibility in a positive light.
This rebranding was a necessary change following a scandal that broke in 2016, where retail bankers (under pressure from corporate leadership to open more accounts) established fake accounts under the names of real customers, a ploy to make it look as though they had met quotas. Though this understandably outraged customers, it didn’t really draw any revenue for the company, aside from a couple of million dollars in fees that consumers did pay.
In the wake of this scandal, Wells Fargo has taken a hit. In 2019, Wells Fargo fell to 29 on the Fortune 500 from a previous rank of 26. This isn’t a major drawback, but other financial institutions have been propelled forward by the strong economy.
Wells Fargo won’t be able to rest on its laurels in this modern world, but instead they’ll have to recalibrate and atone for past mistakes in order to stay on top of the financial industry.