In a vintage photo, Marco Rios stands atop a Wells Fargo stagecoach, waving with all the carefree zeal of childhood as his brother and sister appear to be holding on for an impending ride.
Today, Marco cherishes that image from nearly 40 years ago when he and his siblings climbed aboard the movie-prop stagecoach during a family trip to Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Little did they know that one day they’d all work for the company behind that historic icon.
“It was destiny, no doubt about it,” says Marco, a mediations manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “The way that we all ended up with Wells Fargo, it was really meant to be.”
The photo from 1975 shows Marco at age 9, Ricky, 10, and Janina, 8. Today, Ricky is a student-loan collections specialist with Consumer Lending in Sioux Falls, and Janina is a compliance auditor in Panama for a consumer finance company that was owned by Wells Fargo until 2007.
Marco found the snapshot about 10 years ago when he was shuffling through some old family photos. It has since become legendary in the family for its connection to the siblings’ careers.
For Ricky, however, the photo just represents the fun he had at the time.
“I like cowboy movies and always wanted to ride a stagecoach. So my first one was the Wells Fargo stagecoach they used in the movies at Universal,” he says. “Back then, all I knew was that Wells Fargo was a bank, and it had a stagecoach and the Pony Express in the wild, wild West.”
An improbable trail led the Rios siblings from atop that stagecoach in Los Angeles to become team members with Wells Fargo many years later in Sioux Falls.
They were born in California to Panamanian American parents and early on moved to Panama, where their father became an airline pilot. After completing school in Panama, the siblings worked at U.S. military facilities there.
Marco was the first to head for Sioux Falls, where friends said there were good job opportunities. Shortly after moving there, he landed a job with what later became Wells Fargo.
Janina and Ricky also relocated there to work in banking.
Wells Fargo and the Sioux Falls community welcomed them all with open arms, says Janina, who worked there for five years before moving back to Panama to marry.
“There was really never a culture barrier,” Janina says. “We were accepted and respected for who we were, and we so appreciated that.”
Marco says, “From the start, there was no doubt Wells Fargo supported us and supported diversity. That was a huge part of what brought us here and kept us here.”