Adrian Simmons is not your typical coach. He’d rather talk about credit scores than scoreboards. That’s because he’s not concerned about athletic ability; his focus is on financial health.
Simmons is one of 76 financial health bankers in Wells Fargo’s Financial Health Conversations program, which helps customers who want to save more or strengthen their credit.
“Being a financial health banker is very rewarding, and I’m right there on the roller coaster with them as they succeed, sometimes fail, and get right back at it as they move to get their finances in control,” Simmons said.
Jackie Powell, a Wells Fargo customer in Waterbury, Connecticut, calls Simmons her “money coach.”
“No one wants to live paycheck to paycheck or feel like they don’t have anyone to talk to. Now, I do, and that’s Coach,” Powell said. “Not everybody is rich, but everyone wants to know financially where they stand and feel comfortable where they’re at.”
Since her first call with Simmons last August, Powell said she has negotiated better rates for cable and other services, changed payment dates to avoid fees, cut spending, made fewer trips to the ATM, set up direct deposit to automate her savings, and created her first budget and financial plan.
She’s now saving about $200 a month, she said.
“I run the front desk for a discount chain, and I know good customer service when I see it,” Powell said. “I’ve never had anyone walk me through my finances like Adrian did on our first call. When I saw where my money was going, it was very eye-opening. I feel like I’ve made progress. I’ve never felt this good about my money, or about myself.”
She’s also spread the word — to her children, co-workers, and friends — about how they, too, can improve their financial health.
In addition to Simmons and the other financial health bankers in Richmond, Virginia, Wells Fargo also has teams of financial health bankers assisting customers at contact centers in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Charlotte, North Carolina; and El Monte, California (for Spanish-speaking customers).
Evan Siegel, head of contact center sales strategy for Wells Fargo Virtual Channels, created the Financial Health Conversations program in 2015 after having a financial conversation with his father-in-law, who had just become a widower and was considering a cross-country move to live closer to Siegel’s family in California.
“We just talked about what was required to make that happen financially,” Siegel said. “He did everything himself. I just asked the right questions.”
Siegel took the idea to Wells Fargo and, to date, the financial health bankers have helped more than 26,000 customers.
“What I love most about being a financial health banker is being able to provide guidance a lot of people never knew was available from a bank,” Simmons said. “It could be something as simple as helping people know that there are three credit reports, and how to obtain them, or as complex as developing a budget plan to create a more sound financial foundation. Whatever the case, I’m here to help.”