Sloan: We Are ‘Living Our Commitment’

In a letter about Wells Fargo’s corporate social responsibility efforts, CEO Tim Sloan writes, “We have a solid foundation, exceptional businesses, and an outstanding team whose generosity underscores our company’s most important values.”
May 30, 2018 5:00 PM ET

Sloan: We are ‘Living our Commitment’

To our customers, team members, communities, and other stakeholders, welcome to Wells Fargo’s 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, Living our commitment. Here you will learn how we are carrying out our pledge to make every community in which we live and do business better — through our products and services, our culture and business practices, and our philanthropy.

Wells Fargo’s top priority remains rebuilding trust with all of our stakeholders. In 2017, we made substantial progress in our work to fix problems, make things right for customers, and transform into a better, stronger company. We have more work to do, but we have achieved a lot.

Our board of directors, for example, has made significant changes — adding new members, making changes to the leadership and composition of its committees, and strengthening oversight and reporting. We’re very proud that Betsy Duke, former member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, was elected independent board chair, making her the first female board chair of a major U.S. bank. Betsy also leads our new external Stakeholder Advisory Council, which was formed to provide stakeholder perspectives on current and emerging issues.

For more details about our comprehensive effort to rebuild trust, I invite you to read our 2017 Annual Report at I also recommend the interactive timeline called Building a better bank: Our progress, which is updated regularly on Wells Fargo Stories at — our online journal that illustrates the many ways Wells Fargo works with customers and communities.

Living our commitment

While we are working to rebuild trust, I am pleased that in 2017 Wells Fargo continued to make progress on achieving our 2020 goals for corporate social responsibility. These are organized around three priorities:

  • Advancing diversity and social inclusion.
  • Creating economic opportunity in underserved communities.
  • Accelerating the transition to a lower-carbon economy and healthier planet.

You can learn much more about our progress in all of these areas beginning on page 22, and I would like to share a few highlights with you.

First, we have committed to increasing our corporate philanthropy by 40 percent in 2018, and we have set a long-term goal of investing 2 percent of our after-tax profits in corporate philanthropy, beginning in 2019.

I am especially pleased with this commitment because it speaks volumes about the kind of company Wells Fargo is. We’re already one of the largest corporate cash donors in the U.S., contributing $286.5 million to more than 14,500 nonprofits in 2017 to support critical social, economic, and environmental challenges. Looking ahead, we look forward to working with our communities and stakeholders to identify additional opportunities for Wells Fargo to invest in economic growth while continuing to execute our business strategies and provide long-term value to stakeholders.

Second, I’m proud that we are doing our part to address climate change and other sustainability issues in the U.S. and around the world. In 2017, we met and surpassed our 2020 carbon-reduction goal of 45 percent three years ahead of schedule, and we met 100 percent of our global electricity needs with renewable energy. As one of the largest financers of renewable energy, clean technology, and energy efficiency in the U.S., we are committed to supporting new growth in this important sector. This includes supporting product innovation and collaboration with multiple stakeholders, working with nonprofit organizations that focus on bringing renewable energy to underserved communities, and boosting early-stage companies that are focused on sustainability.

Third, and especially meaningful to me, we continue to increase our investment in the Wells Fargo team. For example, in 2017 we raised the minimum wage base range for U.S.-based, entry-level team members to $13.50 per hour — and then to $15 an hour in March 2018. We also enhanced our benefits package. We added two company holidays to our paid time off program, plus two “personal holidays” that team members can use for religious, family, cultural, patriotic, community, or diversity significance, among other reasons. And in the first quarter of 2018, we granted restricted share rights to about 250,000 team members; these are equivalent to 50 shares of Wells Fargo common stock to eligible full-time employees, and the equivalent of 30 shares to eligible part-time employees, with a two-year vesting period.

In appreciation: Our team members are building ‘better’

We know that we cannot transform into a better, stronger Wells Fargo without the hard work, talent, and dedication of our more than 260,000 team members, who are our most valuable resource. And during a year of significant challenge and change, our team continued to focus on what matters — supporting our customers, communities, and each other.

In 2017, 91,000 team members — or about one-third of our entire company — participated in business resource groups including Volunteer Chapters, Green Teams, Team Member Networks, and the Innovators Club. And our team members volunteered a record 2 million hours, valued at an estimated $48 million, to help address the issues, causes, and values most important to them. In addition, they contributed $85 million to 40,000 nonprofit organizations; as a result, our annual workplace giving campaign was named by United Way Worldwide as No. 1 in the U.S. for the ninth consecutive year.

In 2017, our team members also personally contributed $1.27 million to the Wells Fargo WE Care fund — on top of our corporate donation of $6.5 million — to assist team members affected by disasters or other financial hardships. They also spent countless volunteer hours on activities like assembling emergency kits, blood drives, beach cleanups, fostering displaced pets, and rebuilding homes. A special thanks is due to team members like Chase McKinney, a business development manager for Wells Fargo Auto in Sugarland, Texas, who used his own boat to rescue neighbors during the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. He and many other team members stepped up to help our neighbors and colleagues in the wake of 2017’s devastating hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters.

In closing

We recognize that achieving our goal to become the financial services leader in corporate citizenship requires a specific, sustainable commitment from leaders and engagement at all levels of the company. It also requires that we consistently look for new ways to take a leadership role in helping address long-term and complex global challenges that are important to our company and stakeholders. I am pleased that we are making progress on both fronts.

Thank you for placing your trust in Wells Fargo and for your support. I believe we have a solid foundation, exceptional businesses, and an outstanding team whose generosity underscores our company’s most important values and inspires our investments in the communities we call home.

Our commitment to you is unwavering as we continue to make the necessary changes for Wells Fargo to become a better, stronger company.

Timothy J. Sloan

Chief Executive Officer and President

Wells Fargo & Company