Wells Fargo works with the Latino people and communities that call California home to create a future rich with opportunity.
Wells Fargo works with the Latino people and communities that call California home to create a future rich with opportunity.
Diversity & Inclusion
July 12, 2017

Improving lives for California Latinos

Wells Fargo works with the people and communities that call California home to create a future rich with opportunity.

Wells Fargo is committed to building a more diverse and inclusive culture for all team members and customers — one where individuals feel valued and respected for who they are and for their unique skills and experiences. This commitment helps us better understand our customers, recognize new business opportunities, and succeed in serving the needs of our immigrant and refugee communities.

In May, Wells Fargo was named No. 9 on DiversityInc magazine’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity, and has been ranked on the list since 2001.

“When we think about Wells Fargo’s impact, it’s not just about how many checking accounts there are and how much business we have,” said Jimmie Paschall, head of Enterprise Diversity & Inclusion and Strategic Philanthropy. “It’s about how the people we’re interacting with feel. We want everyone to feel included and feel appreciated. And if we do that, we’ll be truly successful at Wells Fargo.”

Whether it’s support for Latino businesses, increasing homeownership, or providing educational opportunities, Wells Fargo — as a company and through team member involvement — works hand in hand with California’s Latino community to improve lives. In addition to millions in investments, the Wells Fargo Foundation has worked with dozens of Hispanic organizations across the state.

‘Opening Doors’ for Latino entrepreneurs

For many entrepreneurs, access to capital is key to getting past the nascent years. That’s where Opening Doors, an organization Wells Fargo supports, comes in. Based in Sacramento, California, Opening Doors is a refugee resettlement agency. They administer small-business and federal refugee microloans of up to $50,000. Wells Fargo supports their efforts to serve primarily Spanish-speaking, immigrant-run businesses by providing microloans of up to $5,000, and awarded the nonprofit a $40,000 Economic Opportunity Grant in 2016. This allowed Opening Doors to expand its loan portfolio to more business owners in low-income neighborhoods, particularly in South Sacramento.

Wells Fargo team members present Opening Doors staff a $40,000 Economic Opportunity Grant.
Cindy Arndt, regional banking sales coach consultant for Wells Fargo and board member for Opening Doors, second from left, joins Wells Fargo community development officer Pedar Bruce, far right, to present the Opening Doors staff a $40,000 Economic Opportunity Grant.

La Cocina, an innovative, small-business incubator located in the Mission District of San Francisco, helps diverse, low-income women start and grow their food businesses. By providing shared resources and industry-specific services such as commercial kitchen space, technical assistance, and access to capital, La Cocina provides women with the tools to succeed so that, one day, they can open their own businesses. Wells Fargo has supported La Cocina since its inception, donating $689,128 in grants. Many company team members also volunteer their time and serve on La Cocina’s board.

Commitment to education

As the leading supporter of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Wells Fargo has committed more than $17.8 million, including more than $6 million in scholarships, since 2003. In 2016, the bank announced a $2.75 million gift to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Wells Fargo offers financial wellness resources at Mexican Consulate events in San Diego and Sacramento, and delivers financial education workshops ranging from budgeting and credit to starting a business. This is in addition to being a part of the “Ventanilla de Asesoria Financiera Integral” (Financial Education Window) program, where Wells Fargo provides financial education workshops three times a week.

Empowering diverse business owners

Wells Fargo’s Diverse Community Capital program is designed to increase access to capital for diverse-owned small-business owners by providing $75 million in lending capital and grants to Community Development Financial Institutions over a three-year period.

The diverse supplier program is an important component of Wells Fargo’s efforts to support diverse-owned businesses. In 2016, the company spent $1.1 billion of its annual procurement budget with diverse suppliers, and it has committed to spend at least 15 percent of procurement dollars with diverse suppliers by 2020.

Wells Fargo has given more than $600,000 to the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, which supports mainly Spanish-speaking, immigrant business owners, and invested millions of dollars with organizations that support its members. The company is also a founding member of the Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce, a group that provides access to capital forums, supplier diversity matchmaking sessions, and financial education specific to small businesses.

Increasing diversity among homebuyers

Advocating for diversity and inclusion involves supporting regulatory and external relationships and reputational efforts in the workplace and in communities. One of the ways Wells Fargo has implemented this is through mortgage lending. For the past six years, Wells Fargo has been the nation’s leading residential mortgage lender to racially and ethnically diverse homebuyers, according to data in the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Over the past six years, Wells Fargo has originated more home loans to African Americans, Asian Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans, low- and moderate-income borrowers, and residents of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods than any bank in the U.S.

Supporting vulnerable populations

Since 1999, Wells Fargo has financially supported the Los Angeles-based Las Familias del Pueblo’s after-school, out-of-school, and summer enrichment programs to help impoverished children of garment workers achieve at high academic levels, just like their more affluent peers.

In 2015, Wells Fargo awarded Centro La Familia Advocacy Group — a nonprofit providing assistance to low-income Fresno County families — a $10,000 grant to help get their specialized immigration and naturalization services up and running. Centro La Familia helps hundreds of immigrants with competent immigration and naturalization services. Immigrants in California have often been preyed on and made to pay upfront for services that, in the end, are fraudulent, according to the nonprofit. Centro La Familia, with the help of Wells Fargo, provides reliable immigration services in a safe and secure environment.

Hiring immigrants

There are more than 2 million college-educated immigrants who want nothing more than to use their skills to contribute to our communities and the economy. Wells Fargo has worked with Upwardly Global, a nonprofit that helps foreign-trained immigrants and refugees integrate into the American workforce by matching education and skills with good paying jobs. By creating employer partnerships, Upwardly Global helps prepare skilled workers and connect them to prospective employers. Wells Fargo has two team members on the Upwardly Global board, team members regularly volunteer and conduct mock interview sessions, and the company has hired 49 Upwardly Global alumni nationwide — with 37 in California.

Marina Khitrov, a job-seeker, and Natalie Lu, system analyst and Wells Fargo volunteer, participate in a workshop with San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit Upwardly Global.
Marina Khitrov, a job-seeker, and Natalie Lu, a volunteer who works in Corporate Finance for Wells Fargo, participate in a workshop with San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit Upwardly Global.

In San Francisco, Wells Fargo has supported the Mission Economic Development Agency’s Adelante Fund and their bilingual-teller training programs through team member volunteerism and by hiring clients from the program. MEDA’s mission is to strengthen low- and moderate-income Latino families by promoting economic equity and social justice through asset building and community development.

Across California, our work with the Latino community is a source of pride showcasing our values. Working with these organizations and through these programs encourages our commitment to work together to build more opportunity for all.