Wells Fargo & Company is an American multinational banking and financial services holding company which is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with “hubquarters” throughout the country. It is the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by assets and the largest bank by market capitalization. Wells Fargo is the second largest bank in deposits, home mortgage servicing, and debit cards.
In 2007 it was the only bank in the United States to be rated AAA by S&P, though its rating has since been lowered to AA- in light of the financial crisis of 2007–08. The firm’s primary U.S. operating subsidiary is national bank Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., which designates its main office as Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Wells Fargo in its present form is a result of a merger between San Francisco–based Wells Fargo & Company and Minneapolis-based Norwest Corporation in 1998 and the subsequent 2008 acquisition of Charlotte-based Wachovia. Following the mergers, the company transferred its headquarters to Wells Fargo’s headquarters in San Francisco and merged its operating subsidiary with Wells Fargo’s operating subsidiary in Sioux Falls. Wells Fargo is one of the “Big Four Banks” of the United States, along with JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup—its main competitors. The company operates across 35 countries and has over 70 million customers globally. In 2012, it had more than 9,000 retail branches and over 12,000 automated teller machines in 39 states and the District of Columbia. As of April 14, 2015, Wells Fargo became the world’s second biggest bank by market capitalization, worth $281 billion, first being ICBC.
Wells Fargo provides personal banking services and products that help you manage your money and save for the future. Wells Fargo Commercial offers comprehensive business financing products, services, and management tools to help your business grow.
The Community Banking segment includes Regional Banking, Diversified Products and the Consumer Deposits groups, as well as Wells Fargo Customer Connection (formerly Wells Fargo Phone Bank, Wachovia Direct Access, the National Business Banking Center and Credit Card Customer Service). Wells Fargo also has around 2,000 stand alone mortgage branches throughout the country.
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is the largest retail mortgage lender in the United States, as of Q3 2011, originating one out of every four home loans. Wells Fargo services $1.8 trillion in home mortgages, the 2nd largest servicing portfolio in the U.S. It was reported in 2012 Wells Fargo reached 30% market share for US mortgages, however, CEO John Stumpf has said the numbers are misleading because about half of that share represented the aggregation of smaller loans that were then sold on in the secondary market. Now, in 2013 its share is closer to 22%; of which eight percentage points is aggregation.
Wealth, brokerage, and retirement
Wells Fargo offers investment products through its subsidiaries, Wells Fargo Investments, LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, as well as through national broker/dealer firms. Mutual funds are offered under the Wells Fargo Advantage Funds brand name. The company also serves high-net-worth individuals through its private bank and family wealth group. Wells Fargo Advisors is the brokerage subsidiary of Wells Fargo, located in St. Louis, Missouri. It is the third largest brokerage firm in the United States as of the third quarter of 2010 with $1.1 trillion retail client assets under management. Wells Fargo Advisors was known as Wachovia Securities until May 1, 2009, when it legally changed names following the Wells Fargo’s acquisition of Wachovia Corporation.
Wells Fargo launched its personal computer banking service in 1989 and was the first bank to introduce access to banking accounts on the web in May 1995.
The wholesale banking segment contains products sold to large and middle market commercial companies, as well as to consumers on a wholesale basis. This includes lending, treasury management, mutual funds, asset-based lending, commercial real estate, corporate and institutional trust services, and capital markets and investment banking services through Wells Fargo Securities. One area that is very profitable to Wells Fargo, however, is asset-based lending: lending to large companies using accounts receivable and inventory as collateral, though less traditional assets are often included in the collateral package. Historically, this type of lending has been done when normal routes of raising funds, such as the Capital Markets or unsecured bank loans, have been exhausted. The main business unit associated with this activity is Wells Fargo Capital Finance. Wells Fargo also owns Eastdil Secured, which is described as a “real estate investment bank” but is essentially one of the largest commercial real estate brokers for very large transactions (such as the purchase and sale of large Class-A office buildings in central business districts throughout the United States).
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