SBA lending to veterans aids small business growth

Thomas Feiter used a Wells Fargo SBA loan to buy and improve a building for his law firm.

Thomas Feiter used a Wells Fargo SBA loan to buy and improve a building for his law firm.

Business owners and entrepreneurs who are military veterans are making important contributions to business creation and economic growth in the U.S., and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) lending increasingly is playing a role in that success.

The need is great. According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 21 million veterans in the U.S. and more than 2.5 million veteran business owners whose companies make up 9 percent of all U.S. businesses.

Meet one of them: veteran and business owner Thomas Feiter. This year, his business, The Fighter Law Firm, received an SBA 7(a) loan through Wells Fargo. He’d been renting space for years, and the SBA loan allowed him to buy and improve an existing office building. A new parking lot and sign were among the upgrades.

“While I was deployed in the Middle East as part of my military duties, I dreamed of returning home and owning a place for my business,” Thomas says. “Working with Wells Fargo helped me realize that dream and also gave me the opportunity to complete additional improvements, which has yielded greater revenues.”

As we celebrate National Veterans Small Business Week, Veterans Day, and Military Family Month in November, Thomas’ story reminds us why helping veterans launch and grow businesses is so important.

Business owners securing SBA loans are finding opportunities in today’s gradually improving economy and favorable interest-rate environment. It’s inspiring to work with these entrepreneurs who are building, growing, and strengthening their businesses in our communities – from purchasing their own land and buildings instead of leasing or renting, to using SBA financing to buy businesses.

As America’s leading small business lender, Wells Fargo is dedicated to supporting veteran entrepreneurs through a broad range of products, resources, and guidance. We consider SBA lending one important way military veterans can get the financing they need to build their businesses and achieve their dreams.

SBA lending offers an alternative to those who may not be able to obtain conventional bank financing. For example, if a business owner has limited liquidity for a down payment, a shortfall in collateral to secure a loan, or a more highly leveraged balance sheet, an SBA loan may be the appropriate alternative.

But lenders also have to follow through and make the loans, and we’re doing that. This year, Wells Fargo was ranked the top SBA 7(a) lender – both in terms of loans and total loan dollars extended to small business owners.

According to U.S. Small Business Administration data, Wells Fargo approved 7,254 SBA 7(a) loans totaling more than $1.9 billion nationwide during the 2015 federal fiscal year (which ran from October 2014 to September 2015). That’s the first time Wells Fargo has made the most loans and loaned the most money overall on an annual basis.

As an SBA preferred lender in all 50 states, we want to give even more businesses the kind of opportunities Fighter Law Firm realized.

If you’re preparing to finance your first entrepreneurial venture, or thinking about growing your business, consider SBA lending. It could be the best option for your business. Talk to your banker about all of your financing options.

To learn more about SBA lending, including applying for an SBA loan, visit the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business℠ website.

About Donna

A veteran of Wells Fargo and SBA lending, Serres leads Wells Fargo’s SBA Lending team. She is dedicated to building customer-focused teams and partnering across Wells Fargo to serve and develop long-term relationships with small business owners and entrepreneurs.

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Driving ideas with a valuable commodity: data

We often say data is one of these new, valuable commodities, like lumber, gold, or oil has been. But once you have oceans of data, not everyone knows what to do with it. That’s where data analytics comes in: to provide the insights and innovative thinking hidden inside mountains of data.

Because data and analytics are more useful when working together, the mandate of our analytics team is to find connections across Wells Fargo and uncover value in the data assets we have. We’re focused on using data in three areas:

  1. Drive an integrated customer experience. We’re using analytics to look across the company and deliver a more integrated customer experience. We want to speak to our customers as one company and not as individual product offerings; data helps us figure out where we can make those connections.
  2. Understand our customers’ needs and customize marketing. Data helps us know where our customers want to interact with us: using our mobile app, at one of our more than 8,700 physical locations, at one of our more than 12,800 ATMs, or on the phone. Knowing our customers in this way means we can communicate with those customers when and where they want.
  3. Mitigate risk. Data is helping us understand and mitigate credit risk, operational risk, and market risk so we make better informed decisions.

We continue to have our eye on data integrity and protecting our customers’ information. We always want to maintain appropriate safeguards and controls and ensure we’re leveraging data appropriately, and in accordance with customer expectations. We don’t take this lightly: We’re responsible for the data we collect and creating robust governance on how we’re using and safeguarding it.

In addition to our own capabilities, we’re also looking outside of Wells Fargo for inspiration and connections by engaging academic institutions to:

  • Apply the academic expertise of leading professors to real-life data challenges.
  • Engage students to unlock their ideas and perspectives.

Social media Campus Analytics Challenge

Campus Analytics ChallengeSocial media is a prime example of a vast amount of unstructured data. While we have many tools to measure sentiment expressed via social media, or the tone of what consumers are saying on social media channels, we want to use analytics to glean insights from social media about pain points, the customer experience, and what actions consumers are taking.

To help us achieve some of these insights — and the accompanying solutions — we’re turning to college students at 13 universities across the U.S. We’ll provide anonymized social media data to these students and challenging them to study and analyze it.

Last year, we held our first Campus Challenge, which focused on financial health. This year we’re expanding the challenge to more universities and conducting it virtually. The Campus Analytics Challenge will take place on the MindSumo collaborative platform Nov. 9–30. Participants’ results will be judged by Wells Fargo’s data analytics experts, and each of five top individuals or teams will take home a $2,000 prize.

The challenge is sponsored by our Data and Analytics Group, Innovation Group, and Social Media teams. For more information, email

Participating colleges and universities

  • Arizona State University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • College of Charleston
  • Georgia Tech
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Iowa State University
  • New York University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Saint Mary’s College of California
  • Stanford University
  • University of California Berkeley
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte

About Prahalad

Thota joined Wells Fargo in June 2015 as head of Enterprise Analytics, reporting to the company’s Chief Data Officer, Charles Thomas. Thota was with Charles Schwab & Co, Inc.; PayPal, Inc.; and Capital One Financial Services in a variety of analytical, product, and marketing leadership positions.

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The key to retirement saving? Save early, and consistently

The big news from our 2015 Wells Fargo Retirement Study – just released in honor of National Save for Retirement Week – is something that seems counterintuitive when you think about the way retirement saving is supposed to work: Workers ages 55–59 appear to be faring better in their retirement saving journey than workers 60 or older.

I would have thought people on retirement’s doorstep would be feeling better than people five years younger since they have had more years of saving under their belts. But, as it turns out, that’s just not the case.

Consider these differences: Survey respondents ages 55–59 (who are still working) have saved a median of three times as much as the not-yet-retired respondents ages 60 and older. And the study found that working Americans age 60 or older started saving for retirement an average of six years later, at age 37 instead of 31 like those ages 55–59.

One significant factor tells me why their experiences are so different: Consistent saving.

Nearly half (48 percent) of workers aged 55–59 said they have consistently saved for retirement since the day they started working, compared to 36 percent of workers 60 or older.

For those facing retirement with less than they thought they’d have, it’s time to take inventory of your situation, and determine the best steps to optimize what you do have. That might mean working a little longer than you had planned — although our research shows that half of retirees retired earlier than they planned, due largely to unforeseen circumstances. Or you may want to consider these moves:

  • Stepping up your savings rate and contributing the maximum amount allowed to your workplace retirement plan (or at least enough to receive any matching funds offered by your employer). If you don’t have access to an employer-sponsored plan, consider all your options, such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), and think about maximizing your contributions.
  • Contributing an additional “catch up” amount to your IRA and workplace retirement plan each year until retirement (if you’re age 50 or older). For Traditional and Roth IRAs, the catch-up amount is $1,000 above the standard limits. For 401(k)s (not including SIMPLE plans), the catch-up amount is $6,000 above the contribution limits.
  • Taking advantage of a Health Savings Account for pre-tax savings. In fact, the amount you contribute is never taxed if you use it for healthcare costs in retirement.
  • Talking to someone about your best strategy for taking Social Security. When you start taking benefits can significantly impact your monthly check.
  • Asking a financial professional to develop a plan to help protect your assets from the impact of market volatility, which is especially important on retirement’s doorstep.
  • Avoiding getting sandwiched. Balance your desire to help your children with college (or to assist aging parents) against your own retirement saving. You need to avoid having your income sandwiched, as is happening more and more with the generation caring for children and parents at the same time.

When it comes to retirement saving, as our latest study again confirms, the best time to start saving is now.

2015 Wells Fargo Retirement Study infographic

About Joe
Ready is the director of Institutional Retirement and Trust for Wells Fargo, overseeing the company’s employer-sponsored retirement plan business as well as institutional trust and custody services to help America’s diverse workforce prepare for a better retirement.

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Women-owned businesses: 4 ways to boost credit, capital know-how

Michelle Huie used a Wells Fargo SBA loan and other assistance to launch her Vim & Vigr compression sockwear line.

Michelle Huie used a Wells Fargo SBA loan and other assistance to launch her Vim & Vigr compression sockwear line.

October is Women’s Small Business Month — a great time to celebrate the growth of women-owned businesses and their contributions to the U.S. economy as well as underscore how business credit can spark further growth.

The latest U.S. Census data show that in 2012, women-owned firms (9.9 million) made up more than 36 percent of all nonfarm businesses, up from 30 percent in 2007. And the number of women small business owners has increased 83 percent from 1997 to 2012!

According to a recent Wells Fargo/Gallup national study, 71 percent of women business owners also feel very or extremely satisfied with business ownership, and 89 percent say they would become a business owner again.

Yet the same survey also showed women are less interested than men in learning about credit-related issues, especially choosing the type of credit that best meets their business needs (17 percent versus 28 percent).

Business credit can provide funds for multiple purposes, from bridging gaps in cash flow to pursuing growth opportunities.

These four actions can help you grow your business credit and succeed financially:

  1. Explore your financing options. According to the Wells Fargo/Gallup study, women business owners said their top three sources of initial funding for their business were cash or savings (85 percent), personal credit cards (37 percent), and financial gifts or support from family or friends (29 percent). Business owners have many business financing options. If a conventional business loan doesn’t meet your specific need, you may want to explore an SBA 7(a) loan. Talk with your banker about the credit options available to identify the best option for you.
  2. Look for a lender with a commitment to women business owners. It’s a competitive market for small business loans, and that’s good for women business owners. Lenders are seeking to make every responsible loan they can to creditworthy business owners. When choosing a lender, look for financial institutions that have a solid track record of working with women-owned businesses, and that may have implemented lending goals or programs focused on women-owned businesses. Many states have programs for women entrepreneurs, so it’s worth investigating the opportunities in your area.
  3. Connect with other women entrepreneurs. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a network of more than 100 women business centers across the U.S. aimed at helping women business owners. Another great resource is, which offers online newsletters and webinars in addition to an extensive database of women mentors. Finally, women business owners should consider joining the National Association of Women Business Owners, which has chapters across the U.S. The group offers peer-to-peer professional development programs for members.
  4. Build a relationship with a banker. Having a strong relationship with a business banker can help your business. The stronger your relationship with your banker, the better your banker can understand your business and find financial options to help it grow. For example, a banker can help you build a strong credit profile as well as help you gain access to capital when you’re credit-ready. A banker can also provide guidance on creating a business plan. Build the relationship by keeping your banker up-to-date on significant changes and business successes.

Michelle Huie followed this advice to build Vim & Vigr®, a company selling a new line of compression sockwear, whose story is told on our Wells Fargo Stories website. A few excerpts: In just over a year, the business grew from an idea to eight employees at its fulfillment center in Missoula, Montana, established strong relationships with retailers, and sold more than 40,000 pairs of the socks.

Michelle says an SBA loan from Wells Fargo and a written business plan — what she did first after getting the idea for Vim & Vigr — were crucial to her success.

“It took about a weekend to write the bulk of it, and I kept going back to it as I thought of more ideas,” she says. “After that, there were three main things I needed in order to turn my idea into reality: a textile designer, a manufacturer, and money. You can figure out relatively quickly if your idea could be an actual business if you put it down on paper.”

There’s certainly a lot to learn from Michelle and the many successful women entrepreneurs who have made it in today’s ever-changing, and challenging, business environment. Although there’s no single recipe for success, business credit can help you start, run, and grow your business.

Women in business Wells Fargo infographic

Note: All stats in the infographic, aside from U.S. Census data, come from a national Gallup/Wells Fargo study focused on women small business owners.

Are you a small business owner?

Check out for more financial tips and guidance.

About Lisa
A 26-year veteran of Wells Fargo, Lisa is head of Small Business Banking for the company, which provides a full range of financial services to nearly 3 million business customers (those with annual revenues up to $2 million). She also leads Wells Fargo’s Pacific Midwest region, which includes banking stores in California, Oregon, and 17 states throughout the Midwest and Rocky Mountains, and leads regional marketing nationally for Wells Fargo’s regional banking teams.

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10 things you can do to manage credit

Get Smart About CreditThink of the last time you bought a cell phone. In today’s technology climate, it probably wasn’t long ago. Before they handed you that shiny new device, chances are they ran a check on your credit history before the sale was approved.

This is just one example of how credit plays an important role in everyday life. But how do you learn how to manage credit?

At a young age, I learned from my mom when I should borrow and when I shouldn’t. I also learned about the consequences when I couldn’t pay bills on time — lessons I’m now passing on to my own children. These include 10 simple tips to manage credit and get smarter about credit management no matter what stage of life you’re in.

  1. Monitor your credit regularly – Make sure you stay on top of your credit history and check all three credit bureaus annually.
  2. Know your credit limits – Avoid being close to or maxing out your credit limits, which may negatively affect your credit score.
  3. Know that good scores equal good rates – Remember: Better credit scores may get you better credit interest rates.
  4. Don’t make late payments – Pay on time. The first missed payment has the largest impact on a credit score, so don’t miss payments. If you are late, don’t be 30 days late, and if you have difficulty, call your lender.
  5. Know your debt-to-income ratio – Since lenders look at the amount of debt you have compared to your monthly income, try to keep your debt-to-income ratio under 35 percent.
  6. Start with a college or secured credit card – If you need to establish credit, consider a secured credit card or a college credit card, which may be a good way to start.
  7. Pay down highest interest rates first – When trying to pay down your debt, pay down your debt with the highest interest rate first.
  8. Live within your means – Set a budget and live within your means to avoid using credit and overextending yourself financially.
  9. Pay more than the minimum – As much as you can, pay more than the minimum due on your credit card, which helps you pay down debt faster and can improve your credit score.
  10. Set up account and autopay alerts – Set up email and text alerts, as well as autopay, to help ensure that you pay your bills on time and build a positive credit history.

One of my favorite parts of working at Wells Fargo is that I have the opportunity to help people build their credit knowledge and confidence in a smart way. There are a lot of benefits to having good credit. By practicing good habits and learning about credit, you can reach your financial goals.

It’s important to start early to develop good credit habits. That’s why, when our oldest son was a senior in high school last year, we got him a credit card: He needed to know how to use one responsibly before going off on his own.

At first, he didn’t understand how to use it or how to read his monthly credit card statement. So we sat down with him for a couple of months after he opened the account, read through his statement together, and explained interest charges and the importance of making payments on time, among other things.

I recommend that other parents do this, too. All too often we hear stories of kids who go to college, open several credit cards without understanding how to responsibly use them, then end up in serious debt. Sitting down with your kids to talk about credit is crucial – it’s a teachable moment to ensure they have a solid understanding about credit and how to use it wisely.

While I use my son as an example, I realize credit issues and questions exist for every generation, which is one reason Wells Fargo supports Get Smart About Credit Month – a time we focus on conversations about credit in the communities we serve.

For more information about ways to establish or improve credit – or better manage debt – visit Wells Fargo’s Smarter Credit™ Center online or take the courses available from our free Hands on Banking®financial education program.

Wells Fargo 10 ways to manage credit infographicAbout Gary
Korotzer leads the Wells Fargo Consumer Credit Solutions Marketing team, where he oversees marketing support for several Wells Fargo businesses, including credit card, personal lines and loans, direct auto, fee-based services, rewards, and student lending.

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Want a good credit score? 4 tips to talk about credit

When my nephew was heading off to college a couple years ago, we had a quick talk about credit. I wanted to help him avoid some of the mistakes I made as a young adult because I didn’t realize then the time and care it takes to build good credit, and how quickly it can erode.

I told him about a simple way to establish credit and a good credit score: Get a credit card, use it to buy something small each month – laundry soap or dinner out with friends – and set up an automatic payment with his checking account to pay the total off every month.

This is a simple way to establish good credit, I told him, so that when it’s time to buy your first car or even your first house, you can get a loan and more favorable terms than someone who hasn’t managed their credit responsibly.

This month, we’re trying to spark those kinds of conversations all over America through our participation in the American Bankers Association’s Get Smart About Credit Day (Oct. 15, 2015) and our annual “How America Buys and Borrows” survey — an annual pulse of consumer attitudes about credit.

For some of us, talking about credit can be about as much fun as a trip to the dentist. It can be a difficult conversation to have, especially if you’re trying to help a loved one.

In fact, in this year’s How America Buys and Borrows survey, 61 percent of respondents said they’d rather share their weight on social media than share their credit score! Clearly, this is a sensitive topic.

But it’s also one that needs attention. Fifty-seven percent of millennials in that same survey told us they’ve lost sleep thinking about their credit situation.

So how can you break the ice? I always share these four tips with parents and others wondering how to help kids establish credit:

  1. Start early. Don’t wait. Have conversations about establishing and building good credit as soon as the kids show an interest and are old enough to understand financial concepts.
  2. Check back in. Like many things in life, this isn’t a one-and-done conversation. When kids get that first credit card or take out a student loan, check back to see how they’re doing with payments.
  3. Be a role model. Do you check your own credit report annually? Create a budget and live by it? Share your own credit and budget-management tips so kids can learn from your example.
  4. Know that every conversation counts. Establishing and building good credit takes time. Every conversation you have helps identify ways to develop habits that build long-term financial health.

Today, my nephew has outstanding credit and when he’s ready to take on more financial responsibility by buying a car or his first home, he’ll have no problem getting the financing he needs.

More importantly, he has a healthy understanding of why it is so vital to manage his credit well.

I texted him recently to ask him what his credit score is, and he didn’t hesitate to respond. He texted back immediately and added, “Hooray for good credit!”

Hooray, indeed.

For more information and tools about ways to establish or improve credit – or better manage debt – visit Wells Fargo’s Smarter Credit™ Center and our free financial education program, Hands on Banking®.

Weight or credit score? Wells Fargo infographic of finding that consumers would rather share their weight than credit score on Facebook

About Shelley
Freeman leads Wells Fargo’s Consumer Credit Solutions team, which includes management of the company’s credit card, personal lines and loans, direct auto, retail services, student lending and other businesses.

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4 tips students wish they’d followed when preparing for college

Photos of Lee, Gamez, Villaverde, and Sprong

(Clockwise from upper left) Lee, Gamez, Villaverde, and Sprong share college tips with high school students.

Many things have changed since I went to college. But one thing hasn’t: the need for students and their families to plan ahead for a successful college experience.

College can be an overwhelming process. Not only does it represent the start of a new journey academically, but also financially. At the age of 17 or 18, the notion of planning for college can seem confusing and challenging, so it’s important to know that you’re not alone.

Sometimes, it’s helpful to hear tips from people who have done what you want to do.

That’s why our Student LoanDownSM Blog has posted a series of stories featuring actual college students offering advice to their younger peers. These four tips are spot on:

  1. Be more open-minded. Don’t be concerned with the name of the school. Consider all your options and keep them all on the table.” – University of Arizona student Tarren Villaverde
  2. Slowly chip away at the process. Work on it piece by piece, little by little, leading up to the deadline. Set goals along the way to get to the bigger picture.” – Loyola Marymount University student Alec Lee
  3. Don’t worry too much. Everything works out. It doesn’t really matter if you get into your dream school or not. There are many other schools that have awesome programs.” – Southern Methodist University student Ginger Sprong
  4. Look for scholarships, scholarships, scholarships. Even after I got into Texas Tech, I was able to apply for several that helped pay the following year’s tuition.” – Texas Tech student Gabriella Gamez

Choosing where to go and how to pay for college are just a few of many decisions you’ll have to make during this stage of your life. When it comes to leaving the nest, there are numerous financial decisions to make ― which is why Wells Fargo refreshed its Get College ReadySM interactive website. The site is designed to help students, parents, and high school counselors plan and prepare for a successful college experience.

Since we relaunched the site in April 2015, we’ve seen a tremendous response. The number of visitors using the site’s quizzes, calculators, videos, checklists, and educational articles to prepare for college has doubled. The most-viewed sections are Paying for College, which explains financial aid in five steps and includes a college cost calculator and other tools; and The Path to Good Credit, which reviews why credit is important, how to get it, and how to build your credit history over time.

Wherever you are in your planning process in high school, use the Get College ReadySM  site to break down college preparation into a manageable, step-by-step list of things to do and consider.

As Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true . . . if we have the courage to pursue them.” Good luck!

Calling all high school seniors College preparation tips infographic

About Gary
Korotzer leads the Wells Fargo Consumer Credit Solutions Marketing team, where he oversees marketing support for several Wells Fargo businesses, including credit card, personal lines and loans, direct auto, fee-based services, rewards, and student lending.

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Six disaster response lessons from Katrina and other storms

Wells Fargo's Janette Magana helps James and Shirlee Anthony after the 2015 Houston floods

Wells Fargo’s Janette Magana (left) assists James and Shirlee Anthony after the 2015 floods in Houston.

Shirlee and James Anthony climbed aboard the Wells Fargo Mobile Response Unit for one reason: to help get their lives back to normal after the floods in Houston.

Within an hour, Wells Fargo’s Janette Magana had helped the Anthonys get everything they needed to secure Wells Fargo’s endorsement on their insurance check so they could begin repairs of their flood-damaged home.

The Anthonys are among more than 240,000 mortgage customers we’ve helped in the past decade in the wake of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast, Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast, tornadoes in Oklahoma, wildfires in Colorado, and, just this past May, the floods in Houston.

Our work with these homeowners ― 56,000 customers in Katrina alone ― has highlighted six things necessary for companies to do to help their employees, and communities, bounce back:

Wells Fargo's Connie Wright, Kim Smith-More and Hugh Rowden help rehab homes in New Orleans

A decade after Katrina, Home Lending’s Connie Wright (left), Kim Smith-Moore, and Hugh Rowden volunteer to help rehab homes in New Orleans.

  1. Meet people face to face. There’s nothing like personal contact — a handshake, smile, and reassuring voice — in times of crisis. In recent years, we’ve met in-person with nearly 12,000 customers at disaster scenes, helping cash insurance checks, processing claims, and finding other ways to speed recovery. We deploy trucks that act as mobile ATMs and weather/emergency information centers. We get customers access to cash for food, water, fuel, and other needs when power is out and electronic payments won’t work.
  2. Open an official help center. In the early days, we set up in reconfigured buses, converted stores, and restaurants. Today we have our Mobile Response Unit, a central help center and mobile office staffed with specially trained team members and expanded capabilities that allow us to quicklyprovide local disaster-relief services along with our banking stores and retail mortgage branches.

    Local TV broadcast near reopened bank after Katrina in 2005.

    Katrina 2005: A local TV station updates viewers about recovery efforts in Mississippi near one of our reopened banks.

  3. Communicate in every way possible. From mainstream media to social media, we’re using every means available to reach customers. Most recently, we began using texting, specialized online banking messages, and other web-based tools to get critical information to customers about disaster relief in their areas. Our online “Get Help with Disaster Recovery” resource center answers common customer questions, provides key contacts, and more. Our Home Mortgage customers can also visit the payment assistance site, call 800-678-7986, or visit a HUD-approved counselor.
  4. Volunteer and give. While we’ve fine-tuned our response efforts, we know it takes long-term assistance to help victims fully recover. That’s where volunteering can make a big impact. Earlier this summer, for example, our team members helped rehab four homes in New Orleans in a community service day tied to the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Team members volunteered 1.74 million hours to their communities. In addition to time, it’s important to contribute financially, too. We donated more than $1.4 million to the American Red Cross in 2014, including money to support disaster relief. And since we began allowing customers to join our support of Red Cross relief efforts in 2007, they’ve donated $4.1 million at ourATMs.

    Wells Fargo mobile ATM

    Wells Fargo’s mobile ATMs feature hydraulics that lower the machines for use by any customer plus satellite and cellular connectivity.

  5. Be prepared. Just as individuals need to be prepared before disasters strike, so must companies. That means planning and fostering teamwork to prepare and respond quickly, like we do through our Enterprise Incident Management Team, the Regional Banking Incident Management group for our banking store network, and business continuity plans in our businesses. This year, we also partnered with the American Red Cross to develop a new quarterly webinar series for managers on preparing for disasters.
  6. Take care of your people so they can take care of others. A top priority in any disaster is ensuring the safety and well-being of our Wells Fargo team members. Our Employee Assistance Consulting group works to help them recover — including immediate emergency support, emotional counseling, and links to government aid and our own internal WE Care Fund emergency-aid grants for those facing severe financial hardships. We take care of our own soat the same time they can help their communities recover.

I hope we never see another Hurricane Katrina or a Moore, Oklahoma, tornado or any other disaster, but we stand ready to help when they do occur. As someone once put it, “When disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed.” About Perry Hilzendeger is the head of Home Lending Default Servicing for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

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Two common social media scams and how to avoid them

Social media scamsScammers are expanding their use of social media to commit fraud through “card cracking” and “clickjacking” — two of the most common forms of social media scams.

Card cracking1

In card cracking, scammers recruit participants through social media posts to assist them in committing fraud. Here is how it works:

  1. A scammer posts an offer on social media (usually Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) about making quick and easy money, and you respond.
  2. The scammer asks you for your debit card and PIN, or username and password, to deposit a check into your account.
  3. In exchange for the information, the scammer promises that you will be allowed to keep a portion of the money deposited.
  4. After receiving your account information, the scammer deposits a fake or stolen check and then immediately withdraws the amount of the deposited funds from your account.
  5. The scammer may go a step further and direct you to report a lost or stolen card to your bank to seek reimbursement for the “stolen funds.”

If you participate in a card cracking scam, you could lose more than just the funds in your account. It is illegal to knowingly deposit bad checks and can result in hefty fines and criminal charges. You could also find it more difficult to open a checking account or credit card in the future since your participation turns you into a co-conspirator.


In clickjacking, scammers try to trick you into clicking on a malicious link by hiding it under another hyperlink you want to click on. This can result in unknowingly downloading malware or revealing sensitive information.

For example, scammers may claim to be from a legitimate business, offering a coupon or special deal. Here is how this scam works:

  1. You click on a seemingly harmless link on social media.
  2. The link directs you to a survey page asking for personal or account information.
  3. You complete the survey, not realizing sensitive information is being shared with the scammer.

If you fall for a clickjacking scam, you may disclose sensitive information that could put you at risk for fraud or identity theft.

How to avoid being scammed on social media

  • Do not respond to online solicitations from people you do not know.
  • Never share your account information with others.
  • If you see a suspicious post, report it to the social media site. Suspicious posts may include:
    • Unrealistic promises. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
    • Requests for account information. Scammers usually ask for information that a bank would not request through social media.
    • A limited-time offer or urgent response required. Scammers want to motivate you to act fast so that you do not hesitate in providing the information requested.

If you notice suspicious activity or unauthorized transactions on your Wells Fargo account, or have reason to believe your account has been compromised, contact us immediately at 800-869-3557. To report a suspicious email, text, or phone call that claims to be from Wells Fargo, follow these instructions.

Card cracking and clickjacking Social Media Scams infographic

1 Source: “Card Cracking,” American Bankers Association, 2015

About Lisa
Robinson leads risk, security, and governance for Wells Fargo Virtual Channels, including mobile banking,, contact centers, and associated digital properties. Her team also manages the Fraud Information Center and provides fraud prevention tips and tools for Wells Fargo customers.

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Three tips to cope with market volatility

Trading screen showing securities and their moves in priceDuring the last few days of extreme market volatility in late August, the number of calls from participants in 401(k) plans we work with increased as much as 30 percent, many of whom are concerned about their 401(k) plans because of the recent market moves.

However, very few participants actually made changes to the investments in their plan — less than 1 percent of total assets were actually traded on the peak days of volatility. That’s encouraging because investing in a retirement plan is a long-term effort.

Times like these can serve as a good reminder about choosing investments that are appropriate for your age and risk tolerance. Follow these three tips so you’re better positioned to weather market ups and downs:

  • Don’t make hasty decisions. If you see the markets shift on any given day, you should think carefully before making changes to your asset allocation. If you do, you might lock in losses, making it difficult to achieve the type of growth needed to fund all of your retirement years.
  • Continue contributing. You may be tempted to stop or reduce your contributions when the markets shift, but that’s not necessarily a good strategy for your overall savings goals. Investing after stock prices have declined could mean that you buy more shares at lower prices. The more shares you own, the faster your account may grow when the market recovers.
  • Review and rebalance your asset allocation regularly. Do you have a strategy for allocating your investments among stocks, bonds, and stable value investments? There isn’t one right asset allocation for everybody, but it’s important to determine what’s right for you. For help determining your investment style, take the Risk Tolerance Quiz at

This quick, interactive quiz will also provide sample asset allocation portfolios for you to consider. You should also consider reviewing your investments regularly to make sure they continue to reflect your intended asset allocation percentages. If one type of investment has grown out of proportion, you may want to periodically adjust your investment percentages back to your original asset allocation plan.

About Joe

Ready is the director of Institutional Retirement and Trust for Wells Fargo, overseeing the company’s employer-sponsored retirement plan business as well as institutional trust and custody services to help America’s diverse workforce prepare for a better retirement.

The Risk Tolerance Quiz is intended to provide a sample portfolio allocation based on your risk profile and does not constitute investment advice. There may be other factors specific to your situation that are not considered. Your investment risk tolerance may change over time, and you should revisit your situation from time to time to determine if a selected portfolio is still appropriate for your situation.

This information and any information provided by employees and representatives of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and its affiliates is intended to constitute investment education under U.S. Department of Labor guidance and does not constitute “investment advice” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Neither Wells Fargo nor any of its affiliates, including employees, and representatives, may provide “investment advice” to any participant or beneficiary regarding the investment of assets in your employer-sponsored retirement plan. Please contact an investment, financial, tax, or legal advisor regarding your specific situation.

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