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Wells Fargo – History

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The company was formed in 1998, following a merger between Norwest Corporation and Wells Fargo & Company. The merged entity was named ‘Wells Fargo & Company’. Prior to the merger, Norwest provided banking services to customers in 16 states of US, and other financial services through its subsidiaries. The company acquired First Security Corporation in 2000.

In 2001 Wells Fargo acquired HD Vest, the largest provider of financial services delivered via tax professionals in the US. Wells Fargo acquired FAS Holdings in 2002, a San Diego-based provider of full-service brokerage and investment services to retail clients through independent contractor, financial consultants and broker/dealers. The company purchased 85% of the assets of Commerzbank’s US asset management subsidiary in 2002.The assets were managed by San Francisco based Montgomery Asset Management. A year later Wells Fargo acquired Pacific Northwest Bancorp. This acquisition significantly increased Wells Fargo’s presence in western and central Washington.

Wells Fargo acquired assets under management, valued at $34 billion, from Strong Financial in 2004.The purchase included $27 billion in mutual fund assets and $7 billion in institutional investment accounts. Later the same year, the company acquired First Community Capital Corporation, a Houston-based bank holding company. It also announced the sale of its Consumer Auto Receivables business unit to CompuCredit Corporation, an Atlanta-based consumer finance company.

In 2005 Trans Canada Credit Corporation, the company’s consumer finance business changed its name to Wells Fargo Financial Corporation Canada. Also, the company acquired Strong Financial in the same year. Later the same year, Wells Fargo & Company announced that Wells Fargo Securities, its investment banking subsidiary, would subsequently discontinue the provision of sell-side institutional equity brokerage and research products and services. Wells Fargo Bank acquired Regulus Group’s wholesale remittance processing operations in 2005.Wells Fargo acquired a $140 billion mortgage servicing portfolio from Washington Mutual in July 2006. In August 2006, Wells Fargo launched contact-less Visa credit cards for customers.

During 2006 the company acquired: Barrington Associates a private investment banking firm; Reilly Mortgage Group, a privately-owned, real estate finance firm; and employee benefit trust business of LaSalle Bank. It also opened a technology resource facility in Hyderabad, India. The company acquired Evergreen Funding Corporation, a Dallas-based factoring company that served small and middle market companies, in December 2006.Wells Fargo reached an agreement with Placer Sierra Bancshares to acquire it in a stock-for-stock merger, in January 2007. In the next month the company renamed its insurance brokerage service Acordia, to Wells Fargo Insurance Services. Wells Fargo opened its first commercial banking branch in Oklahoma in March 2007.

In May 2007, Wells Fargo HSBC Trade Bank, an exclusive international trade firm launched a cross-border lending initiative to offer financing in both domestic and foreign currency for middle market firms doing business in China. Following that it announced a new affiliate, Wells Fargo Foothill

Canada that would offer flexible, senior secured financing solutions to middle-market companies across Canada. In the same month Greater Bay Bancorp, a California based financial services company, signed a definitive merger agreement with Wells Fargo. Also during the month, the bank launched mobile banking services for business customers.

In June 2007, the company announced that it signed a purchase agreement to acquire CIT Construction, the U.S. construction lending business unit of CIT. The company announced that it would close its nonprime wholesale lending business, which processes and funds nonprime loans for third-party mortgage brokers. In the same month, the company announced that it will acquire Universal Insurance Services, Inc., in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the following month the company announced that it will offer electricity price hedging to middle market companies to help them manage their power costs.

Wells Fargo completed the merger of Greater Bay Bancorp in September 2007. In November 2007, Wells Fargo’s subsidiary announced that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Rogers & Belding Insurance Agency, Inc., a single-office agency in El Paso, Texas, and its subsidiaries.

In December 2007, Wells Fargo announced that its subsidiary has completed four more acquisitions namely Rogers & Belding Insurance Agency, Inc., a single-office agency in El Paso, Texas and its subsidiaries; Dover, the N.H.-based The Richardson Group; the Employee Benefits Division of The Brehm Group, Inc. of Minneapolis; and Technology Insurance Services, Inc., a single-office agency in Redwood City, California.

Wells Fargo and United Bancorporation of Wyoming Inc. announced in January 2008 that they signed a definitive agreement for Wells Fargo to acquire United Bancorporation of Wyoming’s five banking operations in Wyoming and eastern Idaho. In February 2008, Wells Fargo announced that it acquired St. Louis-based Insurance Brokers of America (IBA).

In April 2008, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., a subsidiary of Wells Fargo and Citibank, N.A., a subsidiary of Citigroup Inc. signed a definitive agreement for Wells Fargo to acquire the account relationships of Citibank’s customer households in six northern Nevada and two California Sierra Foothills communities, including approximately $500 million in deposits and $60 million in loans. In the following month, Wells Fargo announced that it acquired the business of Flatiron Credit Company, Inc. and its operating subsidiaries. In May 2008, Wells Fargo and Bank of America Corporation announced the formation of a joint venture to operate a single, combined automated clearinghouse (ACH) platform for both companies and their clients. The new entity, called Pariter Solutions LLC, will be the processor of ACH payments.