Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Headquarted in San Francisco, Wells Fargo is a result of the acquisition of California-based Wells Fargo & Co. by Minneapolis-based Norwest Corporation in 1998. Norwest changed its name to Wells Fargo by the start of 2000.
Lines of business
Wells Fargo contains more then 80 lines of businesses. Their results are reported in three segments: Retail Banking (Which is financial services for consumers), Wholesale Banking (which is financial services for corporations and certain services which are sold wholesale to consumers), and Consumer Finance.
The major businesses and products offered are: Banking Credit Cards Home Mortage Consumer Finance Stock Brokerage Student Loans Insurance Brokerage Venture Capital Mutual Funds Private Bank Asset based lending
All of the consumer products are offered through the Wells Fargo Bank branches in the western states, but the company also has standalone mortgage and consumer finance branches in all of the US. It has been one of the largest mortgage companies of the past twenty years.
The present business model of Wells Fargo (formerly Norwest) is summed up in its vision statement: "We want to satisfy all the financial needs of our customers, help them through our advice to succeed financially, be known as the premier provider of financial services and be one of America's great companies". Wells Fargo's goal is to coax its customers to buy all their financial products through Wells Fargo. This is a concept known as "cross-selling", which is popular in the financial services industry at present, and was pionereed primarily by Kovacevich.
An American citizen uses an average of 16 financial products, but usually buys them from an average of 8 different institutions. In other words, the average financial institution has a cross-sell ratio of 2. Wells Fargo currently has the highest cross-sell ratio in the industry of 4.5, but would like to improve its ratio to 8. This has been called by some the "agglomerator" business model, which is popular with many successful big-box retailers, such as Home Depot, Office Depot, and Wal-Mart. To execute this model, Wells Fargo lobbied hard for deregulation of the banking industry, and for repeal of many of the laws that were passed during the Great Depression like the Glass-Steagall Act.
Wells Fargo is the end result of more than 2000 mergers. The holding company was previously known as Norwest National bank and before that Northwest National Bank. Norwest was the numerically the most aquistive bank in the 1980's. Most of the management and the business model of the present day Wells Fargo come from Norwest Bank, and the stock history of Wells Fargo is that of Norwest bank.
Henry Wells and William Fargo founded Wells Fargo & Co. in 1852 as a stagecoach and banking company during the California Gold Rush. Its major focus was its express business until World War I, when the U.S. government nationalized the express business; the company then shifted its focus to financial services. The stagecoach still appears prominently in Wells Fargo advertising and brand image. The main pioneer of the Wells Fargo Bank was I.W. Hellman.
The current CEO is Richard Kovacevich.
Wells Fargo received a 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index released by the Human Rights Campaign starting in 2004, the third year of the report. In addition, the company was named one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers in 2004 by Working Mothers magazine. In 2002, the company was named the number one company for gender diversity by Diversity! magazine.
Selected predecessor companies
- Union Trust Co
- Crocker National Bank
- First Security Bank
- First Interstate Bank
- Raegan McKenzie
- Wells Fargo corporate About page: http://www.wellsfargo.com/about/about.jhtml
- Wells Fargo history FAQ: http://www.wellsfargohistory.com/history/faqsite.html
- WFC: Profile for WELLS FARGO & CO - Yahoo! Finance
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