Wells Fargo: One of the big four banks
Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) is one of the big four banks. It provides a variety of banking services to its clients. These services include deposits, loans, mortgages, wealth management, and cards. It provides these services through a chain of 8,753 stores. Here’s a breakdown of those stores:
- 6,165 – banking branches
- 1,380 – belong to Wells Fargo advisors
- 677 – focus only on wholesale banking
- 531 – focus solely on mortgages
The only big four with headquarters on the West Coast
Wells Fargo (WFC) is the largest and the only big four bank with headquarters on the West Coast of the United States. The other three, JPMorgan (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), and Citibank (C), have their headquarters on the East Coast.
In fact, Wells Fargo is the only bank in the top ten holdings of the popular Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) with headquarters on the West Coast. You can read an analysis of Wells Fargo’s geographical reach and the products it offers in our comprehensive series on Wells Fargo.
Wells Fargo is primarily a noninvestment bank
Wells Fargo has a small investment banking unit. But it’s not in the same investment banking league as other full-service banks such as JPMorgan and Citibank. Wells Fargo can be considered a traditional retail bank with a small investment banking practice.
A small investment banking practice has been a boon for Wells Fargo in recent years. The subprime crisis did not have a large impact on Wells Fargo. In fact, it was one of the few banks that was able to emerge stronger after the crisis. This is reflected in Wells Fargo’s strong returns in the stock market.
The year 2014 was no different. Wells Fargo was the best performing stock among the big four banks. It outperformed the other three banks in a range of 6% to 14%.