What is Wells Fargo?
Wells Fargo was founded by Henry Wells and William Fargo in San Francisco during the heady gold rush days of 1852. Though it started out serving the West, this American financial institution now has a nationwide base and some $1.7 trillion in assets. Through a network of 8,700 locations, 12,500 ATMs and online and smartphone platforms, Wells Fargo does business with approximately 70 million customers across the United States.
Wells Fargo does business with one in three US households and has operations in 36 countries around the world. 2014 was a big year for Wells Fargo as it was named “Most Respected Bank” by Barron’s magazine and also won the award for “Best U.S. Bank” from The Banker magazine.
As the eighth-biggest public company in the world, Wells Fargo is the number-one retail mortgage lender in the United States and the number-one small business lender. From everyday banking accounts and credit cards through to foreign currency exchange, Wells Fargo offers a wide variety of products and services to its customers.
What is Wells Fargo known for?
Serving more communities than any other US bank, Wells Fargo is a banking institution known for its classic stagecoach logo. It’s the largest mortgage and auto lender in the United States, and an estimated 10% of all small businesses use this bank’s financial services.
Which makes its 2016 account fraud scandal, whereby Wells Fargo was accused of creating more than 2 billion fake bank accounts for unauthorized cross-selling of products, all the more disappointing. The bank eventually settled on a payout and committed to amend its bylaws to prevent future scandals.
What products does Wells Fargo offer?
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- Checking accounts
- Savings accounts and CDs
- Credit cards
- Debit and prepaid cards
- Foreign exchange services
- Global remittances
Loans and credit. Finance your new home or car, your education, your small business and everyday needs with flexibility and ease.
- Auto insurance
- Specialty vehicle insurance
- Homeowners insurance
- Umbrella liability insurance
Investing and retirement. Wells Fargo’s investing solutions can help you prioritize for your short- and long-term goals.
- IRAs and rollovers
- Investment services
- Investing for education
Wealth management. Let Wells Fargo’s expert advice empower better investment decisions for a stronger financial future.
- Business checking
- Business savings and CDs
- Business credit and debit cards
- Business lines of credit
- Business loans
- Merchant services
- Payroll services
Commercial services. Work with a Wells Fargo relationship manager or banker to keep your business moving forward.
- Commercial financing
- Commercial insurance
- Institutional investing and savings
What are customers saying about Wells Fargo?
Wells Fargo is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and currently has a letter grade of NR (No Rating) as it responds to previously closed customer complaints. Of the 357 total customer reviews on the BBB site, 96% of them are Negative. Most reviews focus on dissatisfaction around customer service and products.
The Wells Fargo fake account scandal
In September 2016, Wells Fargo announced that it would pay $185 million to settle allegations by the Los Angeles Times that more than 5,000 of its employees created millions of ghost accounts for its customers since 2011. After an “eight is great” sales goal directed by management to sign up customers with at least eight Wells Fargo products each, employees began creating fake bank and credit card accounts to meet the quota, moving money between accounts without their knowledge or permission. These accounts racked up more than $2.5 million in fees for the bank — fees paid by customers who discovered they were on the hook for credit cards they hadn’t applied for or used, insufficient account funds and other penalties.
Longtime CEO John Stumpf resigned in October 2016, replaced by Timothy Sloan, and 5,300 employees were fired. But Wells Fargo’s problems are not yet behind them: In addition to the $185 million payout, federal prosecutors are continuing investigations and threaten to clawback retirement and other compensation for executives who retired in the wake of the scandal.
If you believe that an unauthorized account or service was opened in your name, no matter when it happened, call Wells Fargo’s dedicated claims hotline at 1-877-924-8697.
Bottom line: can you trust Wells Fargo?
Wells Fargo offers a wealth of financial and banking services for nearly every stage of life and business. Despite its 2016 fake account scandal, it turns out that few customers have left the bank. Time will tell how deeply this scandal affects Wells Fargo’s bottom line.
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