When it comes to American banking, Wells Fargo is the one that often pops into mind. The bank has been around for many years and has served the American public well. The current climate the bank has to face, however, is not all peaches and cream. The bank faces serious allegations in the fraud area.
Furthermore, the allegations are enough for some firms to no longer promote these specific products. That being said, there are many aspects to the bank that need to be explored. That needs to happen in order to form an opinion.
History of Wells Fargo
A stagecoach rushing over the plains and prairies of the Wild West. This image comes to mind as you read through the history of Wells Fargo. The stagecoach filled to the brim with gold is not only the logo of the bank. It is also very much a part of its history. When the bank started out in 1852, the bank offered the banking services of those times. These services included buying gold and selling paper bank drafts. Furthermore, it also provided rapid delivery of the gold and everything of value.
The gold rush that hit San Francisco also happened to be the reason for the origination of the bank. Furthermore, the gold rush allowed the bank to expand its operations in various locations. The bank was known for its speedy deliveries. It even managed to expand their delivery modes from stagecoaches to steamship, railroad, pony rides, or telegraph. This soon allowed the bank to play a vital role in the founding of the Overland Mail Company. This also led to the Pony Express.
The operations also extended to the urban areas. These were New York, New Jersey, Chicago, the Midwest, Alaska, Arizona, and more. Furthermore, by 1910, the company’s network included over 6,000 locations. The bank also grew its footprint throughout the 1900’s and also managed to base their operations in downtown San Francisco. Even with the earthquake that shook this region on the early 1900’s, the bank was able to provide their services.
Throughout the decades that followed, the bank slowly adapted to the banking services and products of those times. Mergers and acquisitions also followed and the bank had many successful ventures throughout its lifetime. During the financial crisis that hit the world 2008, the bank was able to weather the storm. This was due to sound financial principles banking decisions.
Finally, all has not been rosy for the bank. Allegations of misconduct aired during the 2008 financial crisis. There was also talks of discrimination and sub-prime deals.
Notable Mergers, Name Changes and Acquisitions for Wells Fargo
- 1905 – Nevada National Bank to form the Wells Fargo Nevada National Bank
- 1923 – Union Trust Company to form the Wells Fargo Bank & Union Trust Company
- 1954 – Changed name from Wells Fargo & Union Trust to Wells Fargo Bank
- 1960 – American Trust Company to form Wells Fargo American Trust Company
- 1962 – Changed name from Wells Fargo American Trust Company to Wells Fargo Bank
- 1969 – Wells Fargo & Company holding company was formed
- 1986 – WF acquired Crocker National Corporation
- 1987 – WF acquired the personal trust business of Bank of America
- 1988 – WF acquired Barclays Bank of California
- 1996 – WF acquired First Interstate Bancorp
- 1998 – WF merged with Norwest Corporation
- 2000 – WF acquired National Bank of Alaska
- – Furthermore, WF acquired First Security Corporation
- 2001 – WF acquires HD Vest Financial Services
- 2007 – WF acquired CIT’s construction unit
- – Furthermore, WF acquired Placer Sierra Bank
- – Also, WF acquired Great Bay Bancorp
- 2008 – WF acquired United Bancorporation of Wyoming
- – Furthermore, WF acquired Century Bancshares of Texas
- – Also, WF acquired Wachovia Corporation
- 2009 – WF acquired North Coast Surety Insurance Services
- 2012 – WF acquired Merlin Securities and
- – Furthermore, WF acquired stake in The Rock Creep Group LP
Access to Wells Fargo
First of all, the bank offers simple online banking services. Customers have the option of accessing their online banking direct or signing into additional services. These services are also included:
- Account Summary
- Bill to Pay
- Trade and
- Messages & Alerts
There are over 6,000 Wells Fargo branches in the US. It is considered one of the big four banks in the nation. Furthermore, customers will have access to the traditional banking channels. Also, the banks adhere to the normal business hours and are closed on the banking holidays.
Although the US is flooded with Wells Fargo branches, there are some states with no representation at all. These include Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. Finally, customers have access to over 13,000 ATMs across the US.
Wells Fargo Personal Banking Product Offering
Everyday Checking Account
If bells and whistles are important, then this is the perfect choice. This account is for the active account user, as there are benefits to reaching the minimum account transaction limit. Other aspects of the account include:
- First of all, the account includes the use of a platinum debit card with chip technology.
- Customers have the option to avoid the $10 monthly service fee. These include 10 or more posted debit card purchases or payments. Or, qualifying deposits totaling $500 or more. There is also the option to maintain a $1,500 minimum balance. Or, customers can have a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card linked to the account.
- Furthermore, there is a $5 monthly service fee discount for account owners between the ages of 17 and 24.
- The account features 24/7 fraud monitoring and zero liability protection.
- Also, customers can make use of the various tracking tools.
- Account alerts provide customers with the chance to report suspicious card activity.
- Finally, there is a mobile banking app for those day-to-day transactions on the go.
Those who want a little more from their checking account will find this one to bridge the gap.
- First of all, customers can avoid their monthly service fee with some clever banking. Also, there is the option of qualifying direct deposits of $1,000. Finally, the account can also be linked to a Wells Fargo Home Mortgage to avoid those fees.
- Furthermore, the account requires a minimum opening deposit of $15.
- Finally, balances over $500 earn interest.
This account package provides customers who need a bit more from their banking with the ideal solution. This account forms the foundation of the premier banking division with Wells Fargo. Customers will have access to many different products in this range and enjoy exclusivity. Other features of the account include:
- First of all, creative banking will allow customers to save on their banking as they won’t pay banking fees.
- The account carries a minimum opening deposit of $25.
- Furthermore, customers earn interest on positive balances. Balances of more than $5,000 earn higher interest.
- Finally, this account also carries other benefits when linked to other products.
First of all, this is the ideal solution for those still at school or college. This account provides students between the ages of 17 and 24 with significant account discounts. Students will also have access to a debit card to simplify transactions. Finally, the account provides free access to online and mobile banking.
This account provides those who were unable to open a checking account with the means to do so. Furthermore, this allows customers to build up their rating within the bank and still take advantage of the features. Finally, the account allows access to other accounts and services as well.
A great start to money management for teens. Also, the account provides teens with access to a debit card. The account provides the flexibility to make use of digital or mobile banking. Teens can also set their daily ATM limits.
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This account is a great choice for those who want to get into the habit of saving. It has great benefits for those who wish to build up a good nest egg.
- First of all, the account requires a minimum opening deposit of $25.
- Customers will have $1 of their funds transferred to this account with qualifying purchases.
- Furthermore, customers can set up transfers of $25 per month or more to increase their savings.
- Clients can avoid the monthly service fee by making a few small changes to their banking habits.
The chance to earn premium rates on savings.
- The account requires an opening balance of $25.
- Furthermore, customers will have the option to write checks.
- Also, this account is a means of overdraft protection.
- Finally, customers can avoid the minimum service fee by maintaining a daily account balance of $3,500.
Certificate of Deposit (CD)
A fixed rated and term investment for those who don’t need to access their funds.
- First of all, this account requires a minimum opening balance of $2,500.
- The account provides fixed rates and fixed terms.
- Furthermore, these types of accounts pay higher interest rates than other deposit accounts.
- There is no service fee on this account, due to the fixed term.
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Cash Wise Visa® Card
This card is a great entry-level credit card that provides great benefits. Furthermore, customers need to be on the lookout for special offers and bonuses. This card also has one of the lowest intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months.
Secured Credit Card
This card grants access to credit for those who need to build or rebuild their credit score. Furthermore, the score activity is shared with three bureaus. Therefore, it is important that the card is managed optimally. Finally, the credit balance is secured by a deposit for the amount of credit granted.
Propel American Express® Card
Customers will earn points with their purchases which grow with the type of purchases.
Wells Fargo grants customers the chance to book their foreign exchange before they leave to other countries. The bank grants this service for currencies of over 100 countries, with over 70 different currencies. Some other features are:
- Competitive exchange rates that are updated daily.
- Also, a buyback option when the customer returns with unused currency. This does not apply to all currencies.
- Furthermore, there is no service fee for currency purchases.
- Finally, customers also have the option to request wires and drafts, however, these are at different rates.
Mortgage Loans and Home Equity Lines
Wells Fargo offers their clients various mortgage options.
- First-time homebuyers
- A secondary or holiday home
- Buy to Let
- Also to buy a foreclosure property
- Refinance existing property and
- Finally, extensions or renovations to existing property
Personal Credit Lines
This is the ideal solution for those who wish to consolidate their high-interest loans or finance major purchases. Furthermore, customers have the option of the amount and the term, within the lending guidelines.
Personal Line of Credit
This is a great source of credit for those who don’t always need it. However, when the need is there the facility is readily available. Also, this type of finance is suitable for those who need flexible credit.
There are a variety of different products to help students through the various levels of their studies.
This type of student loan covers the tuition and other eligible expenses. Furthermore, students are not required to make any payments while at school. The loan is suitable for those who attend:
- Traditional colleges and universities
- Also career and community colleges
These are ideal for those who have made it through their studies and require funding to start their new life.
Consolidate Student Loans
This option allows students to combine multiple loans into one easy installment. This makes it easier to keep track of payments and also ease up the cash flow.
Customers have the option to finance or refinance their car debt. There are flexible loan options that give customers a tailored option. Finally, customers will also benefit from competitive interest rates and fast credit decisions.
Customers will have all their insurance needs covered at a single point of contact. Types of insurance provided include:
- Homeowners insurance
- Auto insurance
- Umbrella Insurance
- Specialty Vehicle Insurance
- Also Life Insurance and
- Renters Insurance
Individual Retirement Account (IRA)
Customers will have the option to make their retirement years more comfortable. Furthermore, this happens by choosing an IRA product that suits their needs. Finally, customers will have the option of choosing a Traditional or Roth IRA.
Customers have the option of signing up for investment services provided by an advisor. They will also have the option to invest directly online.
Customers have various options with their savings when they leave their employer. Furthermore, Wells Fargo provides a simplified solution to assist with this rollover.
When it comes to the cost of education, it’s good to be one step ahead. Customers have the option of:
- Education Savings Accounts
- Also 529 Plans and
- Custodial Accounts
Wells Fargo Business Banking Product Offering
Business Choice Checking Account
For business owners, every cent matters as great cash flow control is the lifeblood of their business. Furthermore, with this account, business owners have the opportunity to avoid banking fees. Finally, this happens by choosing their transactions wisely and having the ideal balances. Some of the features of this account include:
- The first 200 transactions are included at no charge.
- Also, the first $7,500 deposited per month is included at no charge.
- This account requires a minimum opening deposit of $25.
Platinum Business Checking Account
This account is the ideal solution for established and growing businesses. Furthermore, the account provides solutions for business with a high level of transactions.
- Customers have the opportunity to avoid the monthly service fee by maintaining the minimum account balances as specified.
- Also, the first 500 transactions are included at no extra charge.
- The first $20,000 cash deposit per month is included at no charge.
- Finally, the account requires a minimum opening deposit of $25.
Analyzed Business Checking
This account is suitable for those businesses that require access to a high-volume account. Furthermore, customers will also have access to treasury management.
Savings and CDs
Business Market Rate Savings
This account is the ideal solution for those who want to save for their businesses throughout the year. Furthermore, the account carries a monthly charge, however, there are ways that customers can avoid this fee. Also, this account requires a minimum opening balance of $25.
Business Platinum Savings
Customers who sign up for this account will enjoy the benefit of higher savings. Also, there is a monthly service fee that can be avoided by maintaining the minimum balances. Finally, the account requires an opening deposit of $25.
Business Time Accounts
This account is suitable for businesses who don’t require access to their reserves for a period of time. Furthermore, this account provides higher rates that the flexible savings. Customers will have the peace of mind of FDIC insurance on qualifying balances. An opening deposit of $2,500 is required.
Small Business Loans
Small Business Administration Lending
SBA loans are ideal for those who wish to purchase other businesses, expand, and more. There are two different types, the SBA 7(a) and the SBA 504.
- The terms are up to 7 years for working capital, 10 years for equipment, and 25 years for real estate.
- Used to purchase existing businesses, expand to another location, buy equipment, acquire land or buildings, or a combination.
- Also, the rates can be fixed or variable.
- Loan amounts are up to $5 million.
- The terms are up to 20 years on Real Estate and up to 10 years on machinery or equipment.
- This is for expansions through land or building acquisitions, construction, or equipment purchase.
- Furthermore, the rates are fixed or variable.
- Loan amounts are up to $6.5 million.
Business Real Estate Financing
Customers have various options in terms of their commercial properties. These include:
- Commercial Purchase Loan
- Refinance Loan
- Equity Loan
- Equity Line of Credit
Healthcare Practice Finance
Wells Fargo has the necessary experience to provide healthcare professionals with tailored finance packages. Also, this will help them with their day-to-day and finance needs. Customers can look forward to finance of up to 100% as well as preferential rates.
Line of Credit
These types of loans are not secured by collateral. Furthermore, the interest rates on these loans tend to be lower than a standard credit card. The limit is determined by the affordability and credit rating of the client.
Customers have funds available in a savings or CD account that acts as security for the loan. This is good for businesses who need to rebuild their credit or for those who have no credit rating.
Business Credit Card
Business Platinum Credit Card
This card is suitable for businesses who have annual sales up to $2 million and need fewer than 100 cards.
Business Secured Credit Card
This is the ideal solution for businesses who don’t have a good score and need to rebuild it.
Business Elite Card
This account is for those who want an elite service. Also, established businesses with a turnover of $1 million may benefit from using this card.
Wells Fargo Commercial Banking Product Offering
Financing needs for big businesses are far more complex than for smaller ones. Furthermore, Wells Fargo provides a myriad of finance solutions to meet the needs of big business.
- Equipment Financing
- Real Estate Financing
- Capital Finance
- Preferred Capital
- Also, Asset-Backed Finance & Securitization and
- Public Finance and Municipal Markets
Commercial Insurance and Employee Benefits
These include insurance needs such as property and casualty. Also, there is professional risk, special risk products to surety, international and private risk management, and more.
Commercial Real Estate
A large platform that services many areas in this division, including
- Commercial Real Estate Lending
- Specialized Lending and Securitization
- Full Spectrum of Services
- Expertise by Property Type
- Community Lending and Investment
Corporate Trust Services
This offers investors, bondholders and lenders some peace of mind.
- Conventional Debt
- Specialized Services
- Structured Debt
A different approach to investments led by a team of specialist analysts.
- Asset Management
- Discretionary Asset Management (OCIO)
- Equities Sales and Trading
- Fixed Income Sales and Trading
- Prime Brokerage Services
- Research and Economics
Services and resources provided to customers who require some assistance on an international front.
- Currency Risk Management
- Foreign Exchange
- Also, International Treasury Management and
- Trade Services
Global Financial Institutions
- S. Financial Institutions
- International Financial Institutions
- Supranationals, Sovereigns, and Agencies
- International Insights
- Routing Numbers
- Taipei Branch Disclosures
- Investment Banking and Capital Markets
- Market Risk Management
- Retirement and Employee Benefits
- Investment Banking, Securities and Markets
- Shareowner Services
- Treasury Management
Review of Wells Fargo
Customer, Employee and Industry Ratings
Customers registered on the Credio website are eager to let the industry know of its dissatisfaction with the bank. The customer review of the bank is a dismal 1.4 of 5. As a bank, however, Credio rates it at 96%. The rating was brought down slightly due to the lower amount of ATMs available to customers. This is in comparison to competitors.
Wells Fargo suffers another bad rating. This site rates them at a disappointing 1 of 5.
Slightly better than some of the other banks on the site, Wells Fargo reaches a 2 of 5 here. The website itself scores the bank a B+.
This website is specifically for the employee. Furthermore, the bank received a 3.4 of 5 from staff members. 66% of staff members would recommend the bank to friends and family, and 76% of staff approve of the CEO.
Financial Stability Rating
Although the bank was rated negative from stable by S&P, the other ratings remained the same. Furthermore, Fitch and Moody’s are keeping a close eye on the institution. This follows the recent fraud allegations and the market’s response to it.
Security of Funds
The FDIC provides insurance for qualifying balances up to a certain amount. Customers are encouraged to find out from their bankers which deposits qualify. Also, there are products that do not fall within the parameters of the FDIC.
Review by Critical Reviews: 6 of 10
The bank provides millions of customers throughout the US with the opportunity to satisfy all their banking needs. It offers great products at reasonable prices and customers will enjoy the products for generations to come.
There are quite a few things the bank will need to work on before the bank can increase this rating. First of all, there are the fraud allegations that shroud the bank in doubt. This obviously has an effect on the level of trust customers have in the bank.
The second issue the bank will need to work on is the downgrade in their internet banking. This ruffled many feathers and creates a situation where clients no longer feel they have control of their balances.
The third item on the list is the lack of education where debit cards are concerned. Customers need to know that transactions will only go through when the merchant processes the transaction. Furthermore, customers also need to be educated on the benefits of maintaining their account in a positive balance. Also, they will pay high fees when they spend more than their available balance.
Finally, the bank has no presence in quite a few states which force clients to move their banking to others.