Photo of a Wells Fargo Bank building has a yellow triangle at the top-left corner of the image that says 'COVID-19 update'
Photo of a Wells Fargo Bank building has a yellow triangle at the top-left corner of the image that says 'COVID-19 update'
Inside the Stagecoach
April 7, 2020

Bringing financial relief to a global crisis

The fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic is being felt around the world. Wells Fargo is working hard to support its customers, employees, and communities.

Nota del editor: También está disponible una versión en español de esta historia.

Updated July 14, 2020 | This story has been updated to reflect the company’s progress on submitting PPP loans.

In addition to the overwhelming public health crisis of the COVID‑19 pandemic, the economic ramifications of the virus are playing out in homes, businesses, and communities around the globe.

While public health officials are working diligently to control the COVID‑19 pandemic, the financial services industry is working equally hard to restore the health of the economy. Wells Fargo has implemented a broad range of initiatives to help its customers and communities during the COVID‑19 crisis.

“We are working tirelessly to both be there for our customers as they face new and uncertain financial situations,” said CEO Charlie Scharf. “And to be there for our employees, working to serve them as safely as possible and facing the same challenges.”

Helping customers

For customers experiencing hardships related to COVID‑19, Wells Fargo has suspended residential property foreclosure sales, and evictions. The company is also offering potential fee waivers, payment deferrals, and other expanded assistance for checking and saving, credit card, auto, mortgage, small business, and personal lending customers who contact the company. (Customers can visit this site for directions on how to ask for help.)

“I sent a message on Monday and received a message today and I literally cried tears of joy! I work as a charge nurse on a busy unit, actually gave birth after a 13-hour shift, just 3 weeks ago! Wells Fargo was easy to work with (I literally just had to send a message on their website) and they granted my request. This allows me to take my full family leave time to stay with my family and newborn. Once I get back to the front lines, I have to self-isolate away from my family. So this is [precious] time I get to bond with my brand new baby. I am forever grateful Wells Fargo.” — Wells Fargo customer

“From early March through June, we helped more than 2.7 million consumer and small business customers by deferring and waiving fees. This included deferring more than 2.5 million payments and providing over six million fee waivers,” said Scharf.

Wells Fargo is also working to help meet the needs of small businesses and nonprofits through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the emergency loan program from the U.S. federal government to help small businesses and their employees. Wells Fargo has helped approximately 179,000 small businesses receive funding to keep their employees on payroll and their doors open, totaling $10.1 billion. More than 84% of the loans went to businesses with fewer than 10 employees. The company has launched new automation and technology designed to enable us to process more applications at a faster rate. Customers must meet the overall program requirements set forth by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), have a Wells Fargo business checking account as of Feb. 15, 2020, and be enrolled in Wells Fargo Business Online® or have Commercial Electronic Office® (CEO®) access. Customers can begin the PPP application process through the Wells Fargo PPP website.

Supporting communities

The company has also made a commitment to donate all processing fees from the PPP program — approximately $400 million — to nonprofits supporting small businesses, with a special focus on diverse-owned small businesses.

Earlier this year, the company dedicated $175 million from the Wells Fargo Foundation to help address food shortages, public health needs, small business stability, and housing security for the most vulnerable populations. Wells Fargo is allocating resources through expedited grant-making at the local level and also through relief efforts with national and international organizations in order to serve the immediate needs of communities.

These donations also build on a prior pledge of $1 million to the CDC Foundation to meet emerging needs, $1 million to Feeding America in support of 200 member food banks, and $250,000 to the International Medical Corps for its work in more than 30 countries.

Providing essential services to the nation while caring for employee safety

In March, the White House released guidelines saying that critical U.S. infrastructure sectors — including food, energy, health care, and the financial services industry — have a “special responsibility” to keep running. As a provider of essential services to the public, Wells Fargo has made the health and safety of its employees and customers its top priority.

“Thank you Wells Fargo!! I signed in, filled out the needed questions and immediately got a response saying I was approved and my payments have been temporarily suspended. I will receive paperwork in seven to 10 days. This is a HUGE relief for my husband and I, as he has had to go on unemployment because he is a chef and his catering company can no longer serve during the start of their busiest time. Wells Fargo absolutely helped us out for the next three months.” — Wells Fargo customer

Wells Fargo has taken a number of steps to support and protect employees, including enhanced pay for front-line workers and one-time compensation for the majority of its work force, financial support for child care, enhanced branch cleaning practices, remote work programs with support equipment; enhanced medical leave, short-term disability coverage, and expanded insurance coverage for COVID‑19 related care. It has also issued guidance to employees working in branches, contact centers, and operations centers on wearing masks or cloth face coverings, while working to source and ship cloth face coverings for those employees directly.

The company also expanded its support for the hardest hit among its work force, contributing a $10 million grant to its WE Care employee relief fund, which helps U.S. and international employees facing a disaster or financial hardship beyond their control. Grants of up to $1,500 are now available to help qualifying employees pay for housing and other necessities while continuing to work.

Help for many nationwide

Phil Wagener, a Wells Fargo banker, received a call from a doctor in Minnesota who needed help completing an international transaction to purchase critically needed N95 surgical masks for his hospital.

Wells Fargo Bank building.

Wells Fargo responds to COVID-19

We’re taking action every day to support our employees, customers and communities during this challenging time. Read about the actions we are taking, what our strategists are saying about market volatility, how to conduct banking from the safety of your home, and more.

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“It turned out that he was paying out of his own pocket to order the masks from a contact he had in China,” Wagener said. “I took about 20 minutes to walk him through how to wire the money digitally from his account. It worked great for him, he closed the transaction, and the masks were ordered.”

A day later, Wagener received an email: “They are going to ship the N95 masks today,” the doctor said. “You may have helped me save more than a few lives.”

In Santa Rosa, California, Wells Fargo Business Banker David Maciel described a small business customer who desperately needed the bank’s resources as her business was forced to close during the COVID-19 crisis.

“She had used all her funds to pay her employees and pay her bills,” he said. “I helped her apply for a business line of credit and she got approved. She was extremely grateful and thankful for the help and that we were available, especially for business customers.”

“Thank you for being open,” she told Maciel. “I don’t know what I would do without you guys.”

Standing with homeowners in distress

With unemployment skyrocketing and many businesses closing because of the COVID‑19 pandemic, Wells Fargo is also fielding a tremendous number of calls from homeowners across the country asking for crisis-related mortgage relief. The company is providing potential fee waivers, payment deferrals, and other assistance for customers who reach out. An immediate 90-day payment suspension will be granted to any customer who requests assistance.

“Have to take a second to thank Wells Fargo. Obviously, a tough time for everyone. While I am still working, my wife is not. Your mortgage payment assistance helps us more than you know. Thank you.” — Wells Fargo customer

“We are focused on understanding and responding to our customers’ needs — including those facing financial hardship,” said Michael DeVito, head of Wells Fargo Home Lending. “We are seeing rapid growth in customer service call volume in mortgage servicing and are collaborating across the industry to develop solutions that help our customers.”

The stories of hardship from homeowners share many common themes. One couple in Arizona was facing a financial crisis when the husband was laid off, as their mortgage and other bills were coming due. With help from a branch banker, they received payment deferrals that would buy them needed time until the husband could return to work.

“Thank you so, so much,” the wife said in an email. “We love working with you. All the numbers you gave us assisted us, and you did it with so much efficiency and compassion! It really helps now. Please take care of yourself. We appreciate you.”

Perspective on the front lines

Perhaps nowhere is the distress — and appreciation — of customers felt more intensely than in the branches, a testament to the devotion of duty being shown by the company’s front-line employees.

“I talk to my team a lot about how we are very fortunate in a way,” said one branch manager. “We have customers who have lost their jobs. We have customers who are really concerned about how they are going to pay their rent. They are coming to us to get guidance … We are all about the community. I think we see that we are all pitching in to do what we can to help our customers.”

A triptych of images - of a landscape, a Wells Fargo branch entrance, and a gray stagecoach logo - each has a yellow triangle at the top-left corner of the image that says 'COVID-19 update'

Aid announced for customers and communities impacted by COVID-19

Commitments include suspending residential foreclosure sales, waiving fees, and donating $175 million to help communities.

Supporting our employees during the COVID-19 crisis

Wells Fargo is supporting employees while protecting public safety through enhanced cleaning, social distancing in bank branches, remote work arrangements, benefit changes, and more.

Wells Fargo donates up to $6.25 million for coronavirus (COVID-19) response

The money will support relief efforts by the National Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control, the International Medical Corps., and local communities.