Proper Respect Must Be Shown To All

forumValuing diversity is nothing new for Wells Fargo. For 160 years, we have committed ourselves to the success of diverse customers and team members. For example, our instruction booklet distributed to Wells Fargo agents back in 1888 provided the following guidance: “Proper respect must be shown to all—let them be men, women, or children, rich or poor, white or black—it must not be forgotten that the company is dependent on these same people for its business.”

Isn’t “proper respect” at the heart of what we all want for ourselves and for others?

Our commitment to this principle continues today and can be seen in our business practices, employment practices and in the investments we make in Hispanic communities across the country.

If you’re a growth company like Wells Fargo, you have to go where the growth is. According to Nielsen’s 2012 State of the Hispanic Consumer report, Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic segment in the U.S., with a projected growth rate of 167% from 2010 to 2050. This compares to 42% for the total population.

We want to be part of that growth by providing Latino communities with the products, services and resources needed to help them thrive and succeed financially. Let’s take a look at how that commitment is demonstrated. We were the first financial institution to accept the Matricula Consular card to help individuals new to this country gain access to secure and reliable financial services. We are the leading bank provider of global remittance services. Our ExpressSend products give customers multiple channels for transferring money to friends, family and loved ones in Mexico and 14 countries in Central America, the Caribbean and South America. As America’s No. 1 lender to small businesses, we’ve provided more than $5.6 billion in loans to Latino small business owners since 1997. And as the nation’s leading provider of home loans for Hispanic communities, we’re helping keep the dream of homeownership alive for Latino families. This year, we’ve also launched a major initiative to promote sustainable homeownership in communities hit hard by the recent housing downturn. NeighborhoodLIFTSM provides down payment assistance and financial education to potential home owners in targeted metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Miami and Atlanta.

To have a great company, you have to have a diverse company—diverse in products, diverse in geography, and diverse in composition, from top to bottom. To be successful, we need team members with the talent, imagination, and energy found in Latino and other diverse communities across the United States and around the globe.

The diversity of our workforce helps us anticipate, innovate and serve the needs of diverse communities where we do business. Diversity is not a “nice to have,” it’s a “must to have.” Consider this, in just one of our markets--greater Los Angeles alone--our team members speak more than 50 languages to provide in-language services to our customers who want to communicate in a language that is comfortable and familiar to them.

With a workforce of more than 265,000, we have more than 40,000 Hispanic team members at all levels of our company, helping our customers and communities succeed. We’re one of the top corporate employers of Latino talent in the U.S., and we’re eager to hire more. To do so, we reach out to organizations like the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and the National Hispanic Corporate Council. Recruiting and hiring is just the front end of building a diverse workforce. We need to make sure we have an inclusive culture in place that honors and respects the backgrounds and contributions of all team members. The work of our Latino Leaders Program and our Latino team member resource group, called the Latin Connection, provides a tremendous help in building that culture and fostering careers of our Latino team members.

The strength of Wells Fargo is found in its team members, in how they serve their customers and support their communities. Last year, our team members volunteered more than 1.5 million hours of their time and talent to support those most in need. This includes team members supporting a broad range of nonprofit organizations that address the needs of Latino communities across the country. In addition,

Wells Fargo’s corporate philanthropic investments totaled $213.5 million in 2011—the equivalent of more than $4 million a week averaged across the year. Of this total, $18.3 million went to Hispanic serving organizations to support vital community issues. Most of these contributions were made at the local level through a network of community advisory boards that make sure we invest in local solutions to local problems. This grassroots approach to corporate philanthropy is fundamental to our approach to supporting communities where we live and work. We also support several national organizations, such as the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Council of La Raza. This year, Wells Fargo made the single largest donation ever received by the HSF--$3.395 million over a three-year period.

Part of our effort to build strong and vital Latino communities includes our extensive involvement in community-based financial education, including free bilingual money management workshops offered in partnership with local Hispanic organizations featuring Wells Fargo’s award-winning curriculum, El Futuro En Tus Manos (Hands on Banking). This program reaches more than 150,000 people a year, both in classrooms and online.

In our business practices, employment practices and in our community investments, we are committed to following the guidance offered to Wells Fargo agents so long ago: “proper respect must be shown to all.” For today that means respect in the way we develop and offer products and services to diverse communities. Respect in the way we hire, train, promote and treat people in our workforce. And, respect in the way we invest in the communities we call home.

John Stumpf is the Chairman, President and CEO of Wells Fargo & Company.