Editor's note: Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan recently shared a new company booklet, The Vision, Values & Goals of Wells Fargo, with all team members. He discusses the importance of this document in the following message.
I recently shared an important document with every Wells Fargo team member: The Vision, Values & Goals of Wells Fargo. This brief booklet clearly expresses the principles that guide us as we work every day to build the best Wells Fargo possible.
The Vision, Values & Goals of Wells Fargo reinforces what’s most important to us:
- Our enduring vision of helping customers succeed financially, which unites us as One Wells Fargo.
- Our five values, which articulate what’s most important to us: What’s right for customers, people as a competitive advantage, ethics, diversity and inclusion, and leadership.
- Our six aspirational goals for the future of Wells Fargo: Becoming the financial services leader in customer service and advice, team member engagement, innovation, risk management, corporate citizenship, and shareholder value.
Recently we’ve been on a journey to rebuild trust and build a better Wells Fargo — including examining every aspect of our company — by looking at what was working well and what wasn’t. Our vision and values was one of the many things we considered.
Our Vision & Values was first published in 1994. Since then, the booklet has been updated several times to reflect changes at the company and shifts in the external environment. However, we didn’t want to assume it was still meaningful to team members — so we asked them. We listened carefully to their feedback in a companywide Culture Assessment as well as through various surveys and other forums. We learned a lot about how our team members experience our culture, vision, and values.
We heard loud and clear that team members overwhelmingly believe in our vision and values — but they also say those guiding principles haven’t always been articulated clearly or consistently. Specifically, team members told us they haven’t uniformly experienced the vision and values in their daily processes, systems, expected behaviors, and leadership. So, we know we have work to do in ensuring consistency throughout the company. The first place we can start is a streamlined and simplified booklet that everyone can understand.
We also made the company’s aspirational goals for the future a part of the booklet. These goals, which we announced earlier this year, reflect our challenges and opportunities, clearly state our aspirations for the future, and prioritize our focus.
Our values in action
What excites me most about The Vision, Values & Goals of Wells Fargo is these aren’t new concepts. On the contrary, they form the foundation of our company. As a lifelong student of history, I love talking about Wells Fargo’s 165-year history and how our vision of helping customers succeed financially is part of our company’s legacy. This history will be key as we work toward improving and building better — today and tomorrow.
One of our values is People as a Competitive Advantage, and the way we serve customers after disasters reminds us why. After the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, Wells Fargo bankers set up in a private home beyond the burned section of the city to help customers in need. The big leather ledgers in which customer accounts were kept were locked inside a still-smoldering vault in the ruined bank building on Montgomery Street, so tellers authorized small payments to customers in need, all based on their memory of the customers’ accounts. When the ledgers were retrieved three weeks later, tellers’ knowledge of their customers was proven — the books balanced to within a few hundred dollars.
More than a century later, our teams responded promptly in 2017 when natural disasters struck in the form of hurricanes in Texas and Florida and wildfires in California to make sure that Wells Fargo branches, offices, and ATMs were up and running as quickly as possible to serve customers. We deployed team members in mobile units, donated $2.6 million to local community relief efforts, and used innovative technology so customers could make their own contributions to relief efforts at our ATMs.
Another of our values is What’s Right for Customers. Earlier in our history, Pilsbury “Chips” Hodgkins — a Wells Fargo messenger who accompanied shipments — demonstrated that value after the ship he was on from San Francisco ran aground and he rowed a boat to port in Stockton, California, to haul an iron box filled with news and money to waiting customers. As company co-founder Henry Wells said in his speech for Hodgkins’ 20th anniversary in 1876, the hard work of team members like Hodgkins built the success of the company.
Today our team serves millions of customers large and small in ways unthinkable a century ago. For example, after our middle market banking team helped a company complete a complex acquisition with only minutes to spare — as payments whizzed electronically from coast to coast — the customer wrote, “Your amazing team went above and beyond for us today when we were in a bind, and I can’t thank them enough. They saved the day!” On a different front, today we offer individuals digital access to their FICO® Scores — complementing the financial health support our bankers provide in person and on the phone — filling a knowledge gap many people have.
In short, our company’s history is full of stories that illustrate our vision and values in action, and I am confident Wells Fargo will continue that legacy. We’ve made a lot of progress on our journey, and we know we have more work to do. I am heartened every day by the actions of our team members — and now, with The Vision, Values & Goals of Wells Fargo, we have an additional tool to use as we strengthen our company and build a better Wells Fargo.