Wells Fargo Emphasizes Digital With Organizational Restructure

The move is part of a long-term, company-wide strategy to infuse innovation into every level of the bank.

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Need to Know

  • Wells Fargo has announced a new organizational restructuring, including five new line-of-business CEOs.
  • The bank is also launching an entire department focused on digital innovation.
  • Wells Fargo’s EVP & head of innovation sees AI as a central focus for banking innovation moving forward.
  • 43% of Wells Fargo’s customer base uses online banking. 

Analysis

Wells Fargo, the fourth-largest bank in the US, hasunveiled a new organizational structure and digital strategy, starting with a whole new department focused on digital innovation. 

In a recent announcement, Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf explained that the new model will have five line-of-business CEOs in Consumer and Small Business Banking, Commercial Banking, Corporate & Investment Banking, Wealth & Investment Management, and Consumer Lending. 

“The Wells Fargo franchise has extraordinary opportunity and power, and these organizational changes enable us to more effectively pursue our goals and take advantage of the opportunities in front of us,” Scharf said.

In addition to the five newly appointed CEOs, Wells Fargo is also launching a new Strategy, Digital Platform & Innovation group. This new department is designed to enhance “the company’s focus on planning for the digital future and investing in the customer experience.” 

As no leader has yet been named, the team will report to Scharf in the interim. 

The move to direct an entire department to digital innovation signals a new long-term strategy for Wells Fargo to incorporate digital-first thinking into every department’s priorities. 

According to Lisa Frazier, the company’s EVP and Head of Innovation, the work being done to facilitate a digital transformation begins at the line-of-business level, requiring every department in the company to be “ideating, redesigning and reimagining the experience.” 

Frazier believes that banking innovation starts in three key areas: applying new technologies to solve customer problems, creating new business models, and making sure the company has innovation DNA in its culture.

As far as new technologies go, for Frazier, AI is a central focus for the future of financial technology. “We’re the team thinking about the future applications of AI and then working with the technology team to create models to go into production.” 

While innovative, these moves are not the beginning of a digital-first focus for the major bank. With over 30 million digitally active customers, that means 43% of its total customer base is using online banking.

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