We define “culture” as knowing what you need to do when you come to work in the morning without having to read a manual or be told what to do.

Culture is the attitude we bring to work every day— the pattern of thinking and acting with the customer in mind. It’s the habit of doing the right things, and doing things right. It’s a thousand behaviors inherited from team members who came before us, behaviors that we model today and then pass on as our legacy for team members who come after us. It’s behaviors and attitudes that are core to who we are: respecting differences, honoring deadlines, listening to each other, keeping promises, returning phone calls and emails as promptly as we can, being on time for meetings.

Our success has as much to do with attitude as aptitude—what’s in our hearts, not just our heads. Our success depends on how much our team members care for each other, for their customers, their communities and our stockholders.

Enthusiasm and caring enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things. We want our culture to embody care and enthusiasm. We want our team members to have fun—because success without fun never lasts, and fun without success isn’t much fun. “Fun” for us means enjoying our work, enjoying the people we work with, enjoying the difference we make in the lives of our customers and communities, and celebrating our achievements together as a team.

One Wells Fargo

Every time we serve a customer, we should ask ourselves, “If I were the customer in this situation, how would this experience feel for me? Did the transaction feel simple and easy? Did my problem get resolved quickly? Did the team member I contacted first accept responsibility for making sure I got what I needed?” That’s what we mean by One Wells Fargo— imagining ourselves as the customer.

Customers want to do business with companies they connect with emotionally, that speak their language, are sensitive to their culture, value what they value and help them succeed financially. To make that emotional connection, we must put our customers at the center of everything we do.

We’re a circle, not a hierarchy. At the center of the circle—our customers. Alongside them—our team members. Farther out in the circle are our leaders. At the outside of the circle are senior leaders. All of us partner together to do the best job we can for our customers. We work hard to provide our customer-contact team members with the information they need to “know” our customers, what type of accounts they might have with us and what type of services they might need.

Customers expect us to be One Wells Fargo. We have thousands of products and more than 80 businesses. None of us can know everything about all products and services. Customers don’t expect that. What they do expect is One Wells Fargo with systems that work smoothly across all our businesses. They expect finding the right team member, or the right answer to their question, to be quick and easy.

Every Wells Fargo team member has one thing in common. We all work for the customer. Every day, our customers say to us, “Know me. Know who I am. Know what I need. When I come into the bank or go online or use your phone bank or ATM, have all my information there about my accounts. Don’t ask me the same questions over and over about information you already have. Don’t transfer me to someone else who might do the same thing.” They say, “Understand me. Understand what I want to accomplish, understand my goals.” They say, “Appreciate me and all the business I bring you. Treat me like a friend. Thank me. Reward me. If I give you more of my business, then give me a better deal and keep up your great service.” Everything we need to know about a customer must be available easily, accurately and securely, as fast as the best internet search engine.

When we communicate with customers, we should do it with C-A-R-E: Consistent. Approachable. Respectful. Empathetic. We should be consistent in our messages to customers, across events, across lines of business and across the company. We should be approachable and easy to understand. We should be respectful— polite, courteous and considerate. We should show empathy, considering how the customer might respond. We should speak and write in language our customers can understand, not jargon.


An important part of our culture across all of our businesses—banking, investments, mortgage, and insurance—is the desire to “wow!” our customers.

In Community Banking, there’s a special formula for getting to “wow!” It’s called the 11 Ways to Wow!
  • You make me feel at home.
  • You care about me.
  • You make me feel special.
“Delivering value”
  • You give me the right advice.
  • You provide me value.
  • You keep your promises.
“Following up and building relationships”
  • You help me when I really need it.
  • You know me.
  • When you make a mistake, you make things even better.
  • You thank me.
  • You reach out to me.

We know what “wow!” feels like because we’re all customers.

Disciplined, responsible lending

To be the best in our industry, we have to be the best in credit and risk management. These provide the foundation for our reputation and industry leadership. Our time-tested lending discipline has made it possible for us to grow and prosper through many economic cycles. It’s helped us avoid many of the credit traps experienced by others. Because of our discipline, we can be there for our creditworthy customers when they need us, in good times and bad.

The fundamental principle of sound credit is to know your customers and understand their needs. This allows us to respond quickly to customer needs, and encourages local decision-making and local accountability in making a loan. We expect our credit and lending officers to be well trained, knowledgeable, up-to-date, and to use common sense and conservative assumptions. We should always ask, “Is this credit decision right for the customer and for Wells Fargo?” We never want to sacrifice credit quality for short-term financial gain.

Lending can anchor a customer relationship, but we don’t view a loan as just a transaction. It must be part of a broader, deeper relationship with our customers— retail or wholesale—because lending is simply one facet of any customer’s total financial needs. Banks that do transactional lending or that compete on price alone are doomed to fail. Successful bankers build long-term relationships, providing virtually every product or service to their customers and seeing the loan as not an end in itself, but one way to earn all of a customer’s business.

In our consumer lending businesses, we have five principles that guide our lending practices:
  1. Pricing on all loans is fully disclosed and competitive, reflecting a complete view of the customer’s finances, credit history, characteristics of the transaction and collateral.
  2. Offering customers enough information to allow them to make an informed decision.
  3. Maintaining competitive loan pricing based on the customer’s finances and credit history.
  4. Making sure every loan we make provides a demonstrable benefit to the customer.
  5. Trying diligently to determine that customers have a high likelihood of repaying a loan before we provide it.

It’s contrary to our vision and values to try to sell customers any product or service that’s not in their best long-term interests.

Managing risks

For more than 160 years, Wells Fargo has been in the risk management business. It’s central to what we do, and it’s never been more important.

Although we’ve seen a lot of change over the years, the fundamentals of our risk management remain the same. We are guided by our statement of risk appetite, which defines the nature and level of risks that Wells Fargo is willing to take while operating in a safe and sound manner. This statement provides the philosophical underpinnings that guide businesses and risk professionals as they manage risk on a day-to-day basis. It is based on six core principles.

  1. Relationship focus. We take only as much risk as is necessary to efficiently, effectively and prudently serve our consumer, small business, commercial, and wealth customers. We do not offer products that fail to serve our customers’ best interests or are inappropriate for their needs and circumstances.
  2. Competitive advantage. We are willing to take risks when we understand them, and we avoid or minimize risk where we have no competitive advantage.
  3. Reputation. We will not engage in activities or business practices that could cause permanent or irreparable damage to our reputation.
  4. Price for risk. We price our business to cover risk to capital and will retain risk only if priced for a sufficient risk-adjusted return.
  5. Conservatism. We have a significant bias for conservatism. While we want to grow the company, we will do so only in a way that supports our long-term goals and does not compromise our ability to manage our risk.
  6. Dual control. Our lines of business have primary accountability for risk. They own the risk, have their own risk personnel, and are the first line of defense. Our Corporate Risk group is the second line of defense and provides oversight at the enterprise level to ensure our corporate functions and businesses soundly manage risk, comply with applicable laws and regulations, and offer products and services that help our customers meet their financial needs. Corporate Risk also provides “credible challenge” to the business lines when appropriate. We believe this dual control approach is a competitive advantage. In addition, we have a third line of risk defense with our internal audit team.
While we rely on our risk professionals to take primary responsibility for managing and escalating risks, we firmly believe that risk is everyone’s business. We want compliance and risk management to be part of our culture, an extension of our code of ethics. Everyone shapes the risk culture of our company. We encourage all team members to identify and bring risk forward. We should thank them for doing so.

Working as a team, we should focus on managing the following types of risk:
  • Credit risk that arises when the terms of a contract with us are not met, usually a loan.
  • Market risk associated with movements in interest rates, changes in the value of our portfolios or our ability to meet obligations when they come due.
  • Operational risk that occurs from inadequate internal processes, people’s misconduct or errors, or external events.
  • Reputation risk that is generated by negative public opinion, which can expose our company to litigation, impair our competitiveness, create funding issues and result in financial loss.

    We’re not rewarded unless we take risk, but we must identify, understand, quantify, control and price appropriately for that risk. This helps ensure a reasonable return on our investments and that every customer can repay the loan. Everyone on our team— those who manage our customer relationships, our risk management team and our senior leaders— works together to reduce Wells Fargo’s risk, so we can satisfy our customers’ financial needs, build market share, and protect our long-term safety, soundness, and reputation.

Managing our resources

All of us know what it’s like to manage a budget at home. We pay the bills. We keep a close eye on expenses. We want to get the most for our hard-earned money. No one likes to find out they could’ve bought the same thing for much less somewhere else.

It’s the same at Wells Fargo—with one big difference: We’re spending money that doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to our shareholders. So we have to be even more disciplined in managing our company’s expenses without sacrificing our ability to earn more of our customers’ business and grow revenue.

There’s a difference between being careful with money and just being cheap. Being careful means knowing how to save and spend wisely. We’re making expense management a competitive advantage at Wells Fargo— just like our people, cross-sell, solid capital position, strong balance sheet and credit discipline. This can help us grow market share when many of our competitors are struggling. Remaining competitive also means investing wisely, such as our multiyear investment in expanding our international operations to serve the growing global banking needs of our wholesale customers. Managing our resources wisely is good for us, good for our customers and good for our communities. And it’s good for the people who entrust us with their money—our shareholders.

Culture first, size second

We use acquisitions as a cost-effective way to help us set the stage to earn all the business of many more customers. We don’t acquire another company simply to get bigger. We never put size ahead of culture. So we get bigger by getting better—we don’t get better by getting bigger. By “better” we mean putting ourselves in the best position to be there for our customers when they need their next financial product.

When it comes to acquisitions, we build relationships with potential merger partners that often take years to bear fruit. We look for economies of skill, not just economies of scale. We buy companies and assets we understand. We use conservative assumptions. We acquire only what will benefit shareholders. Every acquisition must add to earnings per share no later than the third year after purchase and earn at least a 15 percent internal rate of return. We integrate the acquired company and its people quickly and smoothly into our culture. Our priorities for newly acquired companies are the same as those of any other Wells Fargo business: first, make sure safe and sound management practices are in place; second, achieve acceptable profitability; third, grow the business and have fun succeeding.

Read Our Strategy
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