Pinned up photo of Joe Santiago in the military at left and seated with the eight Wells Fargo employees he manages in Chandler, Arizona.
Career transition: Joe Santiago from his military days, at left, and in a pre-COVID photo with some of the Fraud and Claims Operations employees he manages in Chandler, Arizona.
Inside the Stagecoach
October 26, 2020

‘We’re opening doors for veterans’

With two job promotions in two years, a National Guardsman is among the veterans benefiting from the Boots to Banking career boot camp.

Joe Santiago got an early holiday gift a week before Veterans Day in 2019 — a new Wells Fargo career.

The former police officer and National Guardsman traded his beloved Florida beaches and military service for a new opportunity in the Arizona desert, courtesy of the Military Hiring Events team’s first two-day Boots to Banking career boot camp.

“Just three days after my interview, I’m getting ready to board the plane back to Florida, and the phone rings,” said Santiago, who now works in Chandler, Arizona. “It’s the recruiter with a job offer as a fraud and claims specialist. I accepted, moved here two weeks later, and that was it.

Man wearing a suit sits at computer wearing headphones.
Joe Santiago
“Wells Fargo is a big company with a lot of growth potential and opportunities. They’re opening doors for veterans.” — Joe Santiago, Fraud and Claims Operations Manager

“Wells Fargo is a big company with a lot of growth potential and opportunities,” he said. “They’re opening doors for veterans.”

Promoted twice since his hiring, Santiago now manages a team of 14 in Fraud and Claims Operations who help protect consumers’ debit and credit card accounts from fraud.

Since its launch in 2019, Boots to Banking has helped Santiago and more than 530 other veterans obtain Wells Fargo careers through 31 events for eight different businesses and groups. Among the business users: Consumer and Small Business Banking, Wealth and Investment Management, Wells Fargo Commercial Banking, and Operational Risk.

The two-day events, now virtual because of COVID-19, brief veteran job candidates on career opportunities, provide coaching from veteran employees, and end with interviews and job offers in days instead of weeks. The program is part of Wells Fargo’s ongoing military commitment and efforts to support service members, veterans, their families, and communities.

“We haven’t missed a beat in the shift from in-person to virtual, and both the veterans we hire and our business partners remain pleased with the results,” said Priti Sadler, head of Military Hiring Events.

Her team developed the inaugural boot camp in Fraud and Claims Operations led by Bob Shiflet, a U.S. Army veteran, as part of Wells Fargo’s focus on career transition, housing, financial health, and small business support for military veterans.

In addition to Boots to Banking, Sadler said other military hiring efforts by Military Hiring Events and Military Talent Strategic Sourcing include:

  • Internships
  • Apprenticeships
  • Recruiting through national partnerships with Veteran Service Organizations, digital marketing, relationships with military bases, and direct candidate sourcing through LinkedIn, Indeed, and other sources
A woman reads about career options for veterans in her office. The words '530 veterans hired through Boots to Banking since its inception' appear to her left above bar graphs showing the 254 veterans hired in 2019 and 276 veterans hired YTD in 2020.

Sadler said the result is that 6.5% of all employees hired are veterans — exceeding the 5.7% benchmark set by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

Fraud and Claims Operations Manager Amber Wisecarver said Boots to Banking is one of its best talent pipelines, with the eight classes held so far adding 146 veteran employees.

“We need people who are very organized, quick, proficient, and great at following procedures and adapting to change,” she said. “These are all strengths military veterans have that translate well to our work. Boots to Banking has been a great help to us. The talent is amazing.”

Learn more about the opportunities for transitioning veterans at Wells Fargo.