Wells Fargo CEO Outlines Company Transformation at Congressional Hearing
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar 12, 2019--In opening remarks today, Wells Fargo CEO and President Tim Sloan shared with the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services the many ways that Wells Fargo has become a better bank through the ongoing transformation of its operations, leadership and culture. Sloan also updated the committee on the company’s efforts to compensate customers for past issues and on how the bank is working to become the most customer-focused, efficient and innovative Wells Fargo ever.
“Above all, Wells Fargo is committed to making things right for our customers and earning back the public’s trust,” Sloan said in his testimony. “Wells Fargo is a better bank than it was three years ago, and we are working every day to become better still. This is an ongoing commitment by all 260,000 team members — starting with me — to put our customers’ needs first; to act with honesty, integrity and accountability; and to strive to be the best bank in America.”
Sloan outlined how Wells Fargo is making things right with customers who were harmed, how the company continues to strengthen risk management and controls, and how Wells Fargo’s culture has improved since he became CEO in 2016. He also provided updates on new Wells Fargo innovations aimed at providing customers with additional convenience and simplicity and the company’s deepening commitment to communities.
Making things right for customers
Sloan told the committee that Wells Fargo is compensating retail bank customers who were impacted by past retail sales practices issues. To date, the company has reviewed 165 million accounts going back 15 years, contacted more than 40 million customers — both individuals and small businesses — via 246 million communications, and provided tens of millions of dollars in compensation to customers.
“We are taking responsibility not only for fees customers should not have been charged, but also for related effects such as impact on credit scores,” said Sloan. “Our guiding principle has been to err on the side of our customers, and we are taking an over-inclusive approach in doing so.”
Enhanced risk management
Sloan said Wells Fargo has centralized companywide control functions such as risk, finance, human resources, compliance and technology for better oversight. Within risk, the company has three “lines of defense” — front-line risk, independent risk management, and audit — to ensure multiple layers of review and to improve internal oversight. It has also hired more than 3,000 new risk team members from outside the company since 2016 with plans to hire more, Sloan said. As a result, Wells Fargo has better visibility into issues as they emerge, Sloan said, and can respond to them more quickly.
Strengthening Wells Fargo’s culture
Since 2016, Wells Fargo’s culture has undergone substantial transformation, Sloan said. For example, the company introduced a simpler, more focused Vision, Values & Goals of Wells Fargo booklet to make it easier for team members and customers to understand what guides Wells Fargo. It also introduced a clear set of behavioral expectations for team members and enhanced accountability through a single leadership objective that is part of every team member’s annual performance plan.
In 2018, Wells Fargo increased minimum base pay in the U.S. to the current minimum of $15 per hour. The company also granted restricted stock rights to approximately 250,000 team members and increased the total number of paid holidays from eight to 12 — two additional national holidays plus two personal holidays that team members can use for any reason.
In addition, Wells Fargo enhanced its independent EthicsLine to make it easier for team members to report concerns and expanded a program that encourages team members to speak up when they see something that may need additional review, attention or expertise.
Innovating for customers
Wells Fargo serves one-third of U.S. households, including customers of every income level, age, race and ethnicity, said Sloan. The company has rolled out new, innovative products over the past two years to help customers meet their financial needs more fully, conveniently and economically. These tools include Overdraft Rewind®, Real-Time Balance Alerts, Greenhouse ® (a personal financial management tool designed for students and others who are new to banking), and Control Tower™ (a mobile tool that helps customers easily manage their digital accounts).
Deepening community impact
Wells Fargo has deepened its already strong commitment to good corporate citizenship, said Sloan. The company has consistently ranked among the leading corporate philanthropists in the U.S. For example, since Wells Fargo began its NeighborhoodLIFT program in 2012, the company has provided more than $442 million in down-payment grants to more than 20,000 families in almost 70 communities across the U.S.
In 2018, Wells Fargo expanded its philanthropic giving by more than 50 percent, donating more than $444 million to nearly 11,000 nonprofits nationwide. Beginning in 2019, Wells Fargo is targeting 2 percent of after-tax profits for corporate philanthropy.
Members of the committee were also provided copies of the company’s recent Business Standards Report titled “ Learning from the past, Transforming for the future. ” The comprehensive document was developed with feedback from external stakeholders, including community organizations, and further details the many changes that have taken place at Wells Fargo during Sloan’s tenure as CEO.
About Wells Fargo
Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,800 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, and the internet (wellsfargo.com). Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. With approximately 260,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 26 on Fortune’s 2018 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In 2018, Wells Fargo donated $444 million to nearly 11,000 nonprofits in support of affordable housing, small business growth, financial education, and sustainability, among other community needs. For 10 consecutive years, Wells Fargo has held the honor of No. 1 in workplace giving by United Way Worldwide. Wells Fargo team members also make a difference by donating more than 2 million hours of volunteer time in the last year. News, insights and more information on the company’s corporate responsibility are available at Wells Fargo Stories.
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Jennifer Dunn, 202-320-8532
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PUB: 03/12/2019 10:34 AM/DISC: 03/12/2019 10:34 AM