Aiming to use its place as one of the nation’s largest banks to address “global social, economic, and environmental challenges,” Wells Fargo announced an ambitious five-year plan that includes massive investments in diversity and social inclusion efforts, environmental causes, and billions of dollars for mortgages in “underserved” communities.
The investments are part of the bank’s “corporate social responsibility strategy,” which establishes goals for the company to achieve by the year 2020, including significant commitments in home and small business lending, community investment, operational efficiency and corporate philanthropy.
Wells Fargo’s plan is broken into three separate “key commitments,” which include social, economic and environmental commitments.
Included in the economic commitment is a sizable focus on “economic empowerment,” which includes the bank working on strengthening individual financial knowledge and improving economic opportunities in underserved communities through products, services and financial tools.
As part of the bank’s economic goals for 2020, Wells Fargo said it plans to provide $500 million in “philanthropic giving” to “critical economic needs,” like financial education and affordable housing.
A spokesperson for Wells Fargo told HousingWire that part of that $500 million will include housing grants to Habitat for Humanity, grants to Neighborworks to provide down payment assistance, providing funds for counseling programs for first-time homebuyers, and home repair programs to help low-to moderate-income households folks remain in their homes, among other efforts.
Additionally, Wells Fargo pledged to provide $150 billion in mortgage originations to minority households and $70 billion in mortgage originations to low-to moderate-income households through the bank’s retail and correspondent networks.
Wells Fargo also committed to helping to build and improve 1,000 homes by 2020 in support of affordable housing initiatives serving low-and moderate-income households, including for seniors, veterans, and families.
“To continue to succeed as a global bank, Wells Fargo must help address these social, economic, and environmental challenges and strengthen the communities in which we operate for current and future generations,” Wells Fargo Chairman and CEO John Stumpf said. “Our efforts to integrate CSR strategies across all aspects of our business, products, and culture position us to have a positive and critical impact on people, industries, and the broader global economy when and where it matters most.”