As CEO of Wells Fargo, I strongly disagree with your editorial board’s characterization of our company as an “embarrassment” to Charlotte. I believe your editorial reflects a lack of understanding and appreciation for a company that long has been committed to Charlotte’s growth and success.
Wells Fargo is proud to employ 25,500 hardworking and dedicated team members in Charlotte. We also donated more than $11 million to local nonprofits in 2017, and local team members donated nearly 180,000 volunteer hours to community causes. Just last fall, our company committed another $20 million to address the need for affordable housing in Charlotte. We are proud of our contributions to the city.
I’ll be the first to admit that Wells Fargo has had issues in the past — issues we greatly regret and are working hard to resolve. Nearly all of the matters we have faced reflect issues from our past, including the recently settled state attorneys general matter and the California insurance matter you cite in your editorial, which we disclosed more than a year ago. Nevertheless, these past matters need to be resolved in the present — and that is an important part of my job as CEO. In today’s world, resolving these matters can take years and involve potentially lengthy litigation. The recent settlements reflect important progress in our goals to move Wells Fargo forward as quickly as possible while also continuing to provide our customers with high-quality service and advice every day.
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In the past two years, with the full support of our Board of Directors, we have undertaken a massive effort to transform Wells Fargo. Here are examples of significant change:
New organizational structure. We streamlined the company’s historically decentralized operating structure, added new leaders in key positions (many from outside the company), strengthened risk and compliance measures, and worked to improve the culture.
Elimination of product sales goals. We eliminated product sales goals for retail bankers who serve customers in bank branches and call centers and created a new compensation plan focused on customer experience, stronger oversight and controls, and team versus individual incentives.
Improved customer experience. Our customers today are finding an entirely new experience as we focus on conversations aimed at helping Wells Fargo better understand their financial needs.
Innovation for customers. We introduced industry-leading product and service innovations such as real-time balance alerts, a digital offering for those new to investing, and our online mortgage application.
Team member retention. We reduced voluntary team member attrition to its lowest level in more than five years, increased pay for entry-level team members in the U.S., and granted restricted stock rights to approximately 250,000 team members.
Giving back to our communities. We increased the company’s overall commitment to philanthropy, which we expect to top $400 million in 2018, again making us one of the top corporate givers in the U.S.
Financial performance. We continue to generate solid financial results and strong capital returns, and we remain committed to meeting our expense targets.
We are working hard to build the most customer-focused, efficient, and innovative Wells Fargo ever — characterized by a strong financial foundation, a leading presence in the markets we serve, focused growth within a responsible risk management framework, operational excellence, and highly engaged team members.
Make no mistake, we know there is more work to do and historical matters to resolve, but our progress in the past two years is real and is continuing. We come to work every day proud to serve this great city and help our customers succeed. Our pride and dedication will only continue to strengthen and grow across Wells Fargo, including right here in Charlotte.