Wells Fargo & Company History

Address:
420 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, California 94163
U.S.A.

Telephone: (415) 411-4932
Toll Free: 800-411-4932
Fax: (415) 677-9075

Website:
Public Company
Incorporated: 1968 as Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.; 1983 as Norwest Corporation
Employees: 114,000
Total Assets: $263 billion (2000)
Stock Exchanges: New York Chicago
Ticker Symbol: WFC
NAIC: 522110 Commercial Banking; 522210 Credit Card Issuing; 522220 Sales Financing; 522291 Consumer Lending; 522292 Real Estate Credit; 522298 All Other Nondepository Credit Intermediation; 523110 Investment Banking and Securities Dealing; 523120 Securities Brokerage; 523920 Portfolio Management; 523991 Trust, Fiduciary, and Custody Activities; 524210 Insurance Agencies and Brokerages; 551111 Offices of Bank Holding Companies

Company Perspectives:

Wells Fargo was founded on the American frontier 148 years ago to satisfy a fundamental human need&mdashø connect one customer to another and one market to another by transporting goods, services and funds fast and securely across great distances. We're still doing it today. Our vision--satisfying all our customers' financial needs--is built on that same process--connecting. That's the 'next stage' of the new Wells Fargo. Key Dates:

Key Dates:

1852:
Henry Wells and William G. Fargo form Wells, Fargo & Company to provide express and banking services to California.
1860:
Wells Fargo gains control of Overland Mail Company, leading to operation of the western portion of the Pony Express.
1866:
'Grand consolidation' unites Wells Fargo, Holladay, and Overland Mail stage lines under the Wells Fargo name.
1904:
A.P. Giannini creates the Bank of Italy in San Francisco.
1905:
Wells Fargo separates its banking and express operations; Wells Fargo's bank is merged with the Nevada National Bank to form the Wells Fargo Nevada National Bank.
1923:
Wells Fargo Nevada merges with the Union Trust Company to form the Wells Fargo Bank & Union Trust Company.
1928:
Giannini forms Transamerica Corporation as a holding company for his banking and other interests.
1929:
Northwest Bancorporation, or Banco, is formed as a banking association.
1954:
Wells shortens its name to Wells Fargo Bank.
1957:
Transamerica spins off its banking operations, including 23 banks in 11 western states, as Firstamerica Corporation.
1960:
Wells Fargo merges with American Trust Company to form the Wells Fargo Bank American Trust Company.
1961:
Firstamerica changes its name to Western Bancorporation.
1962:
Wells again shortens its name to Wells Fargo Bank.
1968:
Wells converts to a federal banking charter, becoming Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
1969:
Wells Fargo & Company holding company is formed, with Wells Fargo Bank as its main subsidiary.
1981:
Western Bancorporation changes its name to First Interstate Bancorp.
1982:
Banco acquires consumer finance firm Dial Corporation, which is renamed Norwest Financial Service the following year.
1983:
Banco is renamed Norwest Corporation.
1986:
Wells Fargo acquires Crocker National Corporation.
1988:
Wells Fargo acquires Barclays Bank of California.
1995:
Wells Fargo becomes the first major financial services firm to offer Internet banking.
1996:
Wells Fargo acquires First Interstate for $11.3 billion.
1998:
Norwest acquires Wells Fargo for $31.7 billion and adopts the Wells Fargo name.
2000:
Wells Fargo acquires First Security Corporation.

Company History:

Further Reading:

  • Acello, Richard, 'The Boy Wonder Banker Relaxes--Just Briefly,' San Diego Daily Transcript, January 6, 1995, p. 1.
  • Asher, Joseph, 'Golden Jubilee for Two Holding Companies in Twin Cities,' ABA Banking Journal, June 1979, pp. 102--04.
  • Bailey, Jeff, and Richard Gibson, 'Branching Out: Two Minnesota Banks Illustrate the Pitfalls of Interstate Networks,' Wall Street Journal, July 26, 1985.
  • Beebe, Lucius M., and Charles M. Clegg, U.S. West: The Saga of Wells Fargo, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1949, 320 p.
  • Bradford, Stacey L., 'Norwest Passage,' Financial World, January 21, 1997, pp. 41--43.
  • Bryan, Robert, 'First Interstate: California's Restless Giant,' Bankers Monthly, October 1986, pp. 23+.
  • Byrne, Harlan S., 'Norwest Corp.: Earnings Surge at Bank Company's Consumer, Mortgage Operations,' Barron's, October 26, 1992, pp. 31--32.
  • ------, 'On the Money: Norwest Corp. Has Been Making the Right Moves,' Barron's, January 5, 1987.
  • Carlsen, Clifford, 'Wells Fargo Hitches Wagon to Commerce on the Net,' San Francisco Business Times, December 16, 1994, p. 6.
  • Carlton, Jim, 'Wells Fargo Discovers Getting Together Is Hard to Do: Efforts to Merge Operations with First Interstate Result in Alienated Customers,' Wall Street Journal, July 21, 1997, p. B4.
  • Carson, Teresa, et al., 'Wells Fargo May Have Bagged a Bargain in Crocker,' Business Week, February 24, 1986, p. 35.
  • DePass, Dee, 'Norwest Goes West: $31.4 Billion Buys New Name, Home,' Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 9, 1998, p. 1A.
  • ------, 'Norwest Officially Acquires Wells Fargo,' Minneapolis Star Tribune, November 3, 1998, p. 1D.
  • ------, 'Norwest Scouts Carefully Looking for the Right Deal,' Minneapolis Star Tribune, December 22, 1997, p. 1D.
  • ------, 'U.S. Bancorp, Norwest Grow in Different Ways,' Minneapolis Star Tribune, December 22, 1997, p. 1D.
  • Eisenstein, Paul A., 'Turnaround at Norwest,' United States Banker, January 1989, pp. 38+.
  • Ellis, James E., '`It's Not Sexy, but It's Sure,' Business Week, April 2, 1990, pp. 96--97.
  • Engen, John R., 'The Acquiring Mind of Richard Kovacevich,' Corporate Report-Minnesota, October 1995, pp. 28--30+.
  • 'First Interstate Breathes Again,' United States Banker, February 1993, pp. 34+.
  • Glater, Jonathan D., 'The Big Bank That Thinks Small: Norwest Targets `Little Guys,' Washington Post, January 8, 1995, p. H1.
  • Himelstein, Linda, and Kathleen Morris, 'Why Wells Fargo Is Circling the Wagons,' Business Week, June 9, 1997, pp. 92--93.
  • Hungerford, Edward, Wells Fargo: Advancing the American Frontier, New York: Random House, 1949, 274 p.
  • Iwata, Edward, 'How to Make a Merger Work: Dick Kovacevich Is Successfully Piloting the New Wells Fargo,' San Francisco Examiner, August 10, 1999, p. C1.
  • King, Ralph T., Jr., and Steven Lipin, 'Wells Fargo Sets Big Cuts in California After Merger: Pact with First Interstate Could Take Heavy Toll in Branches, Personnel,' Wall Street Journal, January 24, 1996, p. A3.
  • King, Ralph T., Jr., Timothy L. O'Brien, and Steven L. Lipin, 'California Dream: A Chance to Cut Costs Drives Wells Fargo Bid for First Interstate,' Wall Street Journal, October 19, 1995, pp. A1+.
  • Knecht, G. Bruce, 'Banking Maverick: Norwest Corp. Relies on Branches, Pushes Service--and Prospers,' Wall Street Journal, August 17, 1995, pp. A1+.
  • Kover, Amy, 'Dick Kovacevich Does It His Way,' Fortune, May 15, 2000, pp. 299--300+.
  • Levine, Thomas B., et al., 'Two California Banks Riding Different Waves,' Business Week, May 9, 1988, p. 127.
  • Loomis, Noel M., Wells Fargo: An Illustrated History, New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1968, 340 p.
  • Milligan, John W., 'The Fight for First Interstate,' United States Banker, March 1996, pp. 32--36, 38--40.
  • Moody, Ralph, Wells Fargo, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1961, 184 p.
  • Mullen, Liz, 'Banking on Independence,' Los Angeles Business Journal, March 14, 1994, pp. 14+.
  • Murray, Matt, 'Norwest, Wells Fargo Agree to a Merger,' Wall Street Journal, June 9, 1998, p. A2.
  • 'Norwest: Hurtling into Innovative Services,' Business Week, May 28, 1984, pp. 78--79.
  • O'Donnell, Thomas C., 'A `Loyal Number Two' Takes Charge,' Forbes, September 29, 1980, pp. 46+.
  • Racine, John, 'How First Interstate Beats the California Blues,' American Banker, January 11, 1995, pp. 4+.
  • Roosevelt, Phil, 'King of the Cross-Sell: Richard Kovacevich Wants to Turn Wells Fargo into a Perpetual-Motion Machine,' Barron's, October 11, 1999, pp. 20, 23.
  • Rose, Sanford, 'They're Still Pioneering at Wells Fargo Bank,' Fortune, July 1976, p. 122.
  • St. Anthony, Neal, 'From Go-Go to Cut-Cut: Norwest, Growing Fast but Spending a Lot, Now Focuses on Controlling Costs,' Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 5, 1994, p. 1D.
  • ------, 'Norwest Corp. Knows How to Grow,' Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 13, 1990, p. 1D.
  • Schafer, Lee, 'Executive of the Year: Lloyd P. Johnson,' Corporate Report-Minnesota, January 1991, pp. 28+.
  • Sinton, Peter, 'Bungles Bruise Wells Fargo: Merger Woes Hurt Once Sterling Reputation,' San Francisco Chronicle, June 26, 1997, p. D1.
  • ------, 'Wells Fargo Wagon Rolls On,' San Francisco Chronicle, March 25, 1996, p. B2.
  • Somasundarum, Meera, 'Norwest, Banking Giant, Seeks Gains by Stressing Services for Customers,' Wall Street Journal, December 10, 1996, p. B11A.
  • Timmons, Heather, 'Can the Wells Fargo Wagon Roll Alone?,' Business Week, October 23, 2000, p. 144.
  • 'Waving Good-bye to Wells Fargo,' Business Week, August 1, 1994, p. 36.
  • Weiner, Steve, '`The Wal-Mart of Banking,' Forbes, March 4, 1991, pp. 62, 65.
  • 'Wells Fargo's Fight to Hold the West,' Business Week, June 14, 1982, pp. 90+.
    Wells Fargo Since 1852, San Francisco: Wells Fargo & Company, 1988.
  • Wilson, Neill C., Treasure Express: Epic Days of the Wells Fargo, New York: Macmillan, 1936.
  • Winther, Oscar O., Via Western Express and Stagecoach, Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1945, 158 p.
  • Zuckerman, Sam, 'A New Stage for Wells' Hazen,' San Francisco Chronicle, November 4, 1998, p. D2.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 38. St. James Press, 2001.

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