Wells Fargo

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Wells Fargo & Company is a large U.S. bank with 6000 branches. It was founded in 1929 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California. It operates in Community Banking, Wholesale Banking, and Wells Fargo Financial. The Wholesale Banking segment provides commercial, corporate, and real estate banking services. The Wells Fargo Financial segment handles consumer finance and auto finance and also provides credit card services. [1]

Access Wells Fargo's corporate rap sheet compiled and written by Good Jobs First here.

Lawsuit filed by the U.S. government in 2012

The U.S. filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo alleging over a decade of misconduct related to the underwriting of FHA-eligible mortgages.[2] The complaint alleges the bank falsely and recklessly certified loans that were backed by the federal government, and when it discovered problems with the loans, it failed to notify HUD as required by law. [3] The suit requests treble damages.

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

Wells Fargo was a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2011. In September 2012, a company spokesperson told the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) that it declined to renew its ALEC membership in 2012.[4] See Corporations Which Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more companies that have cut ties to ALEC, and ALEC Corporations for a list of companies known to have been involved with ALEC.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our ExposedbyCMD.org site.

Coal investments

In November 2011, Wells Fargo was listed as the number 19 top global financier of coal-fired power plants in a report complied by various environmental groups entitled, Bankrolling Climate Change: A Look into the Portfolios of the World's Largest Banks. The report noted that Wells Fargo spent $3,499 million euros on coal plants around the world since 2005.[5]

Wells Fargo is a major financier of new coal plant construction. New coal-fired power plants being funded by the company include:

Citizen action

April 2011: Rising Tide North America stages bank protest in Portland, Oregon

Coal Train Visits Bank of America

On Sunday, April 2, 2011, activists affiliated with Portland's Rising Tide chapter targeted major banks in the Portland metro areas as a call to them to divest from the fossil fuel infrastructure, including coal. The banks included Wells Fargo and Bank of America for this investments in practices such as mountaintop removal. Some participants staged a "die-in" on sidewalks while others used mud to stick "dirty money" to bank walls and windows, letting customers know the banks were "closed for climate crimes". No arrests were reported.[6]

May 2011: Protests target banks in Portland, Oregon

On Friday, May 9th, 2011 two bank branches in downtown Portland, Oregon, one belonging to Bank of America and the other to Wells Fargo, were targeted by approximately 30 activists who showed up to protest the banks’ investments in coal projects. Both banks are major lenders to Arch Coal, the second biggest coal company in the United States. Arch Coal was targeted because, along with Ambre Energy, it is responsible for the proposed Millennium Bulk Logistics Longview Terminal near Longview, Washington. Arch Coal also owns the Otter Creek coal mine in Montana, which the company hopes to use as a source of coal to be exported.

Protesters assembled by Portland's Reed College entered the banks as mock coal export trains, which they believed will expose Northwest residents to coal dust, diesel fumes and noise pollution if the coal export facility near Longview becomes operational. A multi-car human ”coal train” entered the banks and marched around the bank's lobby, temporarily disrupting business inside. Climate activists chanted “Hey hey, B of A: Stop investing in coal today!” And later, “Hey hey, Wells Fargo: You say coal, we say no!”[7]

Financial crisis and bailout

Wells Fargo agreed to purchase Wachovia on October 3, 2008, for $15.1 billion[8].The deal was completed in the last hours of the year[9].

Role in the crisis

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Bailout amounts

Committed: $25,000,000,000
Returned: $0
Revenue to Gov't: $684,027,777

Campaign contributions

1st Quarter 2010 Campaign Contributions to federal candidates: $137,500 - 48% to Democrats, 52% to Republicans [11]

Wells Fargo gave $649,750 to federal candidates in the 2006 election through its political action committee - 38% to Democrats and 61% to Republicans. [12]

Between 2009-2011, Wells Fargo spent $787,500 on federal campaign contributions. [13]


2009 Lobbying Expenditures: $2,880,000 [14]

The company spent $1,765,000 for lobbying in 2006. $600,000 went to the two lobbying firms Kilpatrick Stockton and Doremus, Theodore A Jr with the remainder being spent using in-house lobbyists. [15]

According to a report by Public Campaign, Wells Fargo spent $11.04 million on lobbying between 2008 and 2010. During the same time period, it received $681 million in tax rebates and made $49.37 billion in US profits, meaning it paid a -1% tax rate. Executive compensation also increased by 180%, from $17,813,435 in 2008 to $49,834,68 in 2010. [16]

Revolving door influence

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Key officers and personnel

Key executives and 2006 pay: [17]

  • John Stumpf, Chief Executive officer and President, $11,755,472 (also exercised $4,679,426 in options)[18]
  • Howard I. Atkins, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Executive Vice President, $5,289,283[19]
  • Mark C. Oman, Senior Executive Vice President, $6,350,997 (also exercised $5,464,164 in options)[20]
  • David A. Hoyt, Senior Executive Vice President and Head of Wholesale Banking, $6,485,187 (also exercised $2,616,438 in options)[21]
  • Carrie L. Tolstedt, Senior Executive Vice President and Head of Community Banking, $4,654,973 (also exercised $1,784,790 in options)[22]

Selected board members: [23]

Profits, bonuses and market value

According to a report by the Attorney General of New York State Wells Fargo paid $977.5 million in bonuses to executives and employees[25] while losing $42.933 billion (includes losses from Wachovia, which it acquired in late 2008) after being a recipient of TARP bailout funds of $25 billion.

Breakdown of Wells Fargo 2008 bonuses from the Attorney General's report[26];

  • Top four recipients received a combined $17.29 million.
  • The next four received: $12.63 million.
  • The next six received: $16.14 million.
  • Number that received a bonus of more than $5 million: 1
  • Number that received more than $3 million: 7
  • Number that received more than $2 million: 22
  • Number that received at least $1 million: 62

Contact details

420 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94163
Phone: 866-878-5865
Fax: 6626-312-3015
Web: http://www.wellsfargo.com


  1. Wells Fargo Profile, Yahoo Finance, accessed August 2007.
  2. Andrew Tangel, E. Scott Reckard and Richard A. Serrano, Wells Fargo accused in U.S. mortgage fraud lawsuit, Los Angeles Times, October 10, 2012, Accessed November 9, 2012
  3. Andrew Tangel, Feds hit Wells Fargo with mortgage-fraud suit, Los Angeles Times, October 9, 2012, Accessed November 9, 2012
  4. Rebekah Wilce, Merck and Wells Fargo Dump ALEC, While Duke Energy Holds Out, PRWatch.org, September 14, 2012
  5. Bankrolling Climate Change: A Look into the Portfolios of the World’s Largest Banks Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and BankTrack, 2011.
  6. "Wells Fargo, Bank of America Closed for Climate Crimes" nickengelfried, It's Getting Hot in Here, April 3, 2011.
  7. "Coal Train Visits Bank of America and Wells Fargo" Nick Englefried, It's Getting Hot in Here, May 15, 2011.
  8. Wells Fargo to Buy Wachovia in $15.1 Billion Deal, Dealbook, NY Times, October 3,2008.
  9. Wells Fargo, Wachovia complete merger,Phoenix Business Journal, January 2, 2009. Retreived October 6, 2009.
  10. Eye on the Bailout, ProPublica, accessed October 2009.
  11. [1], "Center for Responsive Politics," accessed June 16, 2010.
  12. 2006 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets, accessed August 2007.
  13. For Hire: Lobbyists or the 99%? How Corporations Pay More for Lobbyists Than in Taxes Public Campaign, December 2011
  14. [2], "Center for Responsive Center," accessed June 16, 2010.
  15. Wells Fargo lobbying expenses, Open Secrets.
  16. For Hire: Lobbyists or the 99%? How Corporations Pay More for Lobbyists Than in Taxes Public Campaign, December 2011
  17. Wells Fargo Key Executives, Yahoo Finance, accessed August 2007.
  18. John G Stumpf, Forbes, accessed February 2008.
  19. Howard I Atkins, Forbes, accessed February 2008.
  20. Mark C Oman, Forbes, accessed February 2008.
  21. David A Hoyt, Forbes, accessed February 2008.
  22. Carrie L Tolstedt, Forbes, accessed February 2008.
  23. Board of Directors, Wells Fargo, accessed August 2007.
  24. Richard M Kovacevich, Forbes, accessed February 2008.
  25. Andrew M. Cuomo, No Rhyme or Reason, report by the Attorney General of New York, retreived Oct 4, 2009.
  26. Gregory Corcoran, Wells Fargo: The Cuomo Report’s Bonus Breakdown, Deal Journal, Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2009. Retrieved Oct 6, 2009.

External Resources

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