Since the 1800s, when Wells Fargo offered in-language services and hired Spanish-speaking employees, the company has strived to best serve its Hispanic customers.
Featured photo caption: Wells Fargo guidebook in Spanish (left). Wells Fargo office in Cuba (right). Photo Credit: Wells Fargo Corporate Archives.
In 1850s California, Spanish-speaking families lived in every city and town. Some had lived in California for generations as citizens of the Spanish Empire — and later the Republic of Mexico — before California became part of the United States in 1850. Additional Spanish-speaking people arrived from Mexico, Chile, Peru, Argentina, and other Latin American countries as the discovery of gold in 1848 became international news.
When Wells Fargo opened for business in California in 1852, it offered in-language services and hired Spanish-speaking employees to meet the needs of its customers. As Wells Fargo’s network of express offices grew, it began offering additional Spanish-language services to customers elsewhere in the U.S. and around the world.
Connecting Spanish-speaking communities
Spanish-speaking customers in America depended on Wells Fargo’s worldwide network of banking and express offices when sending letters to distant relatives or business partners. In 1860, Wells Fargo opened its first office in Mexico in the port town of Guaymas. In 1883, with the expansion of the Mexican railway system, Wells Fargo y Cia provided rapid delivery of goods and mail throughout the country. By the turn of the century, Wells Fargo operated more than 300 offices and was the only U.S. express company with direct service to Mexico.
Wells Fargo also opened offices in other Latin American countries, including El Salvador, Cuba, and Panama. In each Latin American office, Wells Fargo hired many Spanish-speaking employees to work as agents, cashiers, and messengers.
Today, Wells Fargo continues to offer specialized services for Spanish-speaking customers. The company continues its long tradition of and commitment to helping Hispanic consumers and communities succeed financially by supporting home lending, access to capital, and initiatives that lead to sustainability and growth of small businesses, diverse suppliers, and community development.
Managers speaking Spanish
Serving Spanish-speaking customers
Wells Fargo’s international presence
Alyssa Bentz is a Corporate Historian for Wells Fargo.