Increasing Diversity In A Diverse Market

David Kvamme, Minnesota CEO and Great Lakes regional president of Wells Fargo
Increasing Diversity In A Diverse Market

TCB | How disruptive have both the Vikings lawsuit and the move to your new towers been to day-to-day operations?

David Kvamme We will have 5,000 team members in our new towers and 4,000 have moved in from a number of buildings that we had been leasing in the downtown area. The move has been seamless. Everyone moved in on a weekend over several weekends. Our new space is tremendous.

It is LEED-certified at the platinum level. There’s lots of natural light. The neighborhood offers great transportation options—light rail and other public transportation—and for employees who want to ride bicycles to work, we have a changing area and place for them to store their bicycles while they are working. At the time of our merger with Norwest in 1998, we had 13,500 team members in Minnesota. We have grown that base to 20,000, which solidifies our commitment to Minnesota. We are excited to be located in East Town. We thought the rooftop signs were appropriate, and we were working within permissible guidelines of city ordinances.

TCB | What are you doing in Minnesota to comply with the new regulations that require banks to be more cognizant of whether their diverse customer base understands the products being offered?

Kvamme: As for compliance with Dodd-Frank, there are a number of things we are required to do to dot our i’s and cross our t’s. We have hired a lot of compliance team members. We serve four in 10 households in Minnesota, and we are focused on low- to moderate-income people in the mortgage space. In the last several years, we have grown the diversity of our team member base. Fifty-five percent of the external hires in our 100 Twin Cities community bank stores over the past two years have been people of color. This is an important opportunity for us because the population growth in the Twin Cities is virtually all people of color. That these team members have language and cultural skills to match those of our customers provides us with a tremendous growth opportunity.

TCB | As one of the state’s largest employers, are you finding it difficult to find qualified help?

Kvamme: The labor market is pretty tight. The need for talent is pressing. We have ongoing opportunities to hire team members and develop team members. We are pleased with our overall results of attracting, developing and retaining team members. Many of our business customers have shared with us that a tight labor market is a pressing issue for them as well.

TCB | Minnesota’s unemployment rate of 3.8 percent was lower than that of other Great Lakes states you oversee. Is there anything beyond low unemployment that makes labor difficult to find in the Twin Cities?

Kvamme: Minnesota also has a vibrant business community, so there is lots of competition for talent. It requires all of us to stay sharp in our recruiting efforts.

TCB | Do you expect the new regulatory environment in the banking industry to hamper growth at Wells Fargo?

Kvamme: The regulatory environment should not impact our ability to grow our business. Our customers will still have financial needs. They will be sending their kids to college and they will be buying homes. We have been pleased with our growth in our credit card portfolio and in our consumer loan division.