Wells Fargo is undergoing a major transformation under CEO Charlie Scharf. Here are the business lines that are most affected.

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Charlie Scharf, CEO of Wells Fargo

Wells has been revamping its wealth business and shrinking its mortgage unit under Charlie Scharf.
Some units have suffered an exodus of talent. The bank has also axed some jobs. 
Here’s the latest on Scharf’s effort to transform the bank and move past the scandals.

Change is hard — just ask Charlie Scharf, CEO of Wells Fargo. 

Scharf was placed at the helm of Wells Fargo in 2019 to help the San Francisco bank navigate its way out of a series of consumer scandals that started in 2016 when it was discovered that some employees had opened fake accounts on behalf of customers.

Since then, the nation’s third-largest bank has paid out billions in fines and settlements and been placed under increased regulatory scrutiny, including a Federal Reserve asset cap that limits its growth.

Scharf, meanwhile, has made sweeping changes to how the bank operates and dramatically cut costs. He’s overhauled the bank’s leadership ranks, its wealth management business, its mortgage unit, and he has pledged to cut $10 billion in costs from the bank’s bottom line.

But Scharf’s changes have not always been popular, especially his cost-cutting measures. And for every scandal Wells Fargo has put behind it, a new one seems to crop up.

Here’s a rundown of how Scharf has transformed the bank since he took the helm, including overhauls to the bank’s mortgage and wealth businesses. 

The wealth business 

When Scharf first took the reins, the bank had several wealth-management businesses, including the brokerage, known as Wells Fargo Advisors, which has no minimum but offers advisory services to clients with at least $250,000 to invest. It also had two private wealth brands: the private bank, which served clients with $2.5 million to $50 million in assets, and Abbot Downing, which catered to richer clients.

Today, Abbot Downing no longer exists and the private bank has been folded into the brokerage business. These changes have resulted in an exodus of private bankers and wealth advisors and complaints that the transformation has been messy, “chaotic,” and painful to watch, as Insider recently reported. 

We said no, no, no, we’re going to run one wealth business. We’re going to run one distribution force,” Scharf said at an industry conference in 2020 in explaining the bank’s $2 trillion transformation

The mortgage business

Scharf has said he plans to grow businesses that will put Wells in direct competition with banks like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, including credit cards and investment banking. At the same time, he wants to pare back on the mortgage lending business, which was traditionally an area of growth.

Wells Fargo laid off home lending employees in at least five major markets in April as the Federal Reserve starting ticking interest rates higher. In April, The bank reported that its home revenues fell to $1.5 billion in the first quarter, down 33% over the same period a year earlier. 

Insider reported last year that Wells Fargo fired dozens of loan officers that it accused of misusing so-called appraisal waivers, which give borrowers and their loan officers the right to bypass a home appraisal on mortgages originated by lenders such as Wells Fargo and sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac if the loan meets certain conditions. 

The bank terminated the employees “after a robust investigation revealed they engaged in misconduct,” a Wells Fargo spokesman told Insider. But some loan officers protested the terminations, telling Insider that some instances dated back to the first half of 2020 and that guidance from senior managers at the time was unclear.

C-Suite and layoffs

Scharf has dramatically overhauled Wells Fargo’s leadership since he became CEO in 2019. Wells Fargo has brought in more than 90 top executives from outside the bank in that time. 

But the cost-cutting has irked some employees. As Scharf aims to steer Wells Fargo past hurdles, a union drive that had some 300 supporters as of June is unfolding at the bank.

Diversity practices

In March, a Bloomberg report revealed that Wells Fargo rejected over half of Black homeowners’ refinancing applications in 2020. In June, a Wells Fargo spokesperson told Insider that it is “confident that our underwriting practices are consistently applied regardless of the customer’s race or ethnicity.” 

The spokesperson added that Wells Fargo funded “twice as many loans overall” to Black borrowers in 2020 as the next largest bank if loans originated and purchased from correspondent sellers were included.

Then in June, the New York Times reported that Wells Fargo had been conducting sham interviews with women and nonwhite candidates for jobs that had already been given to others, according to interviews with several current and former employees interviewed for the story. The report said the employees did so ostensibly to meet diversity requirements on paper. 

A Wells Fargo executive told Insider that the firm’s hiring diversity rule — having 50% of all interview candidates be from an underrepresented background — has worked to increase diversity at the company.

Read more:

Inside Wells Fargo’s ‘chaotic’ journey to transform its services for the ultrarich

Leaked Wells Fargo documents reveal the script its advisors are using to prevent downgraded private banking clients from jumping ship

Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf on how the bank is revamping its $2 trillion wealth management arm

Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf says the bank is considering pulling back on parts of its mortgage business amid scrutiny over its lending practices

Wells Fargo, banker to Main Street, is retreating from mortgages. Analysts break down the 4 main factors driving this unexpected strategic shift.

Wells Fargo has fired dozens of loan officers accused of misusing appraisal waivers. Some say the bank gave them mixed signals.

Inside the Wells Fargo town hall that had a top exec telling staff ‘I love each and every one of you’ while explaining that home lending layoffs were inevitable

Layoffs hit Wells Fargo’s home lending unit as mortgage rates climb and originations plummet. Teams across multiple US cities may be affected.

Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf has called the change in leadership at the bank a ‘dramatic change.’ Here’s our exclusive look at the addition of nearly 90 senior hires.

Why a growing group of Wells Fargo employees is fighting for the first major union in finance, where 1% of workers are unionized

Here’s why high flying mortgage startups like Better and traditional lenders like Wells Fargo are laying off thousands of employees — and it may get way worse

Wells Fargo pauses controversial hiring policy that a former exec said led to women and people of color being given ‘fake’ job interviews, a report says

Wells Fargo exec responds to reports that it denied mortgages to Black applicants and held sham job interviews

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