Timeline of Innovation2019-04-23T09:02:28-04:00

Shaping what’s next

Now – 2010s

October 2018

2017

Making banking easier

Wells Fargo is the first major bank to let customers use their phones to get cash and more at ATMs. Learn more about card-free access

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Quote for Now to 2010

From our stagecoach days, innovation has always been part of our DNA.”

– Steve Ellis, former head of the
Wells Fargo Innovation Group, 2016

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2012

Supporting sustainable homeownership

More people become homeowners with down payment assistance and financial education from the NeighborhoodLIFT® program in collaboration with local nonprofits. Learn more about this program

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The Net Age

2000s – 1980s

November 2018

2007

Banking on the go

Customers have a new way to access their accounts on their phones.

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1995

Banking over the Web

The rise of personal computers connected to the internet changes customers’ expectations for convenience. Wells Fargo responds by becoming the first major bank to offer banking online. Read more about being the first in online banking

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1980

Keeping phone lines open all day

Wells Fargo is the first bank in California to offer customers 24/7 banking by telephone from the comfort of their home.

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Quote for 2000s–1980s

Whatever technology provides better service, we’re going to find a way to use it.”

– Paul Hazen, Wells Fargo Chairman and CEO, 1996

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Generation on the go

1970s – 1950s

November 2018

1979

Automating for efficiency

Americans are writing close to 35 million checks a year. To get customers their money faster, Wells Fargo invests millions of dollars in computers and builds a dedicated data processing center.

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1978

Dispensing convenience

“Banking hours” disappear when customers get access to money night and day at a Wells Fargo Express Stop ATM. Read more about ATMs

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Quote for 1970s-1950s

What we’re really doing, in effect, is sowing a seed and trying to cultivate it into a full-fledged banking relationship with us.”

– Gary Bowers, Vice President, Wells Fargo, 1978

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1970s

Meeting a capital challenge

The first technology companies of Silicon Valley look to Wells Fargo for specialized lending services. Read about loans that grew Atari

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1960s

Expanding education opportunity

The launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik spurs Americans to focus on education. While federal programs provide some funding, students and families turn to Wells Fargo for additional loans.

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1950s–1960s

Keeping pace

As the number of cars in the U.S. doubles to 50 million between 1945 and 1955, free parking and motor banking becomes standard at Wells Fargo. Read more about motor banks

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Boom, bust, and war

1940s – 1920s

November 2018

Quote for 1940s–1920s

The best interests of the customer are always in the best interests of the bank.”

– Frederick Lipman, President, Wells Fargo Nevada National Bank

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1942

Promoting war bonds

More than half of the cost of World War II is financed by loans for defense companies and bonds sold at banks like First National Bank of Palm Beach (now Wells Fargo) in Florida.

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1934

Enabling the American Dream

To boost the depressed economy, Congress creates federally insured mortgages sold by banks. Not originally available to everyone, these loans enable a generation of homeowners and start conversations that lead to improved lending programs in following decades.

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1930s

Security in a dangerous time

As infamous robbers target banks, Wells Fargo leverages the latest in technological advancements — steel vaults — to safeguard customers’ wealth.

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1920s

Cars on credit

Originally meant for only the richest, average Americans can now buy their first car by taking out a loan. By the late 1920s, 60% of cars are bought on credit.

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A new demand for capital

1910s – 1880s

November 2018

1907

Shopping at home

Catalog shopping takes off, with payments sent and packages delivered by Wells Fargo.

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Quote for 1910s-1880s

Efficient service and courteous treatment of patrons built up the business of Wells Fargo & Company, and the same qualities maintain that service today.”

– Advertisement, 1913

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1888

Translating trust

Chinese-speaking customers trust Wells Fargo’s translators and express service would get their letters delivered. Read more about our customers

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1887

Brokering a buy

Stockbroker A.G. Edwards (now Wells Fargo) connects St. Louis stock buyers to distant markets so they can invest in new industries.

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Reconnecting the nation

1870s – 1860s

November 2018

1875

Guarding the gold

One of the most highly regarded security forces in the industry, Wells Fargo uses armed guards, reinforced treasure boxes, forensics, and more. Read more about outwitting outlaws

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Quote for 1870s-1860s

Our lives are not measured by the number of years and days we exist but by what we accomplish … and the good we may render to our fellow men.”

– Henry Wells, 1875

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1866-1869

Bridging gaps

President Lincoln calls for a transcontinental railroad. While the lines are being built, passengers use Wells Fargo stagecoaches to stay connected and send money.

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1865

Supporting Reconstruction

When Georgia’s railroads and economy lay in ruins, the Atlanta National Bank (now Wells Fargo), the first nationally regulated bank in the South, provides loans to help rebuild.

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Pursuing opportunities

1850s – 1800s

November 2018

1858–1861

Achieving the impossible

Overland Mail Company stagecoaches, financed by Wells Fargo, travel day and night across thousands of miles — proving wrong critics who said it was impossible.

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Quote for 1850s-1800s

Wells, Fargo & Co. is extending its business everywhere there is a possible opening, and to many places where there was none until they cut the way.”

– Newspaper, 1855

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1855

Earning trust

Needing a safe place to put his money during the Gold Rush, John Topping entrusts his gold to a Wells Fargo agent in Folsom, California.

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1852

Introducing Wells Fargo

New towns and cities emerge as people pursued opportunity in distant places. In San Francisco, people turn to Wells Fargo to get money, news, and more. Read more about the founders

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The search for independence

1700s

November 2018

1790s

Foiling counterfeiters

Bank of North America (now Wells Fargo) pays extra for difficult-to-copy designs on paper to protect customers.

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Quote for 1700s

…the establishment of the bank is an event as extraordinary in itself as any domestic occurrence during the progress of the revolution.”

– Thomas Paine, 1784

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1782

Moving money

Instead of sending heaving coins — or even cows — to his brother, Revolutionary War Colonel Owen Biddle sends a Bank of North America (now Wells Fargo) check.

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1781

Funding the Revolution

The Continental Congress charters the Bank of North America (now Wells Fargo) to create new financial tools for a fledgling nation. Read more about a revolution in banking

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