Efficient development is often highlighted as the key differentiator between big banks and fast-moving fintechs, and by reorganizing itself behind the scenes, Wells Fargo is trying to buck the trend.
To create a more cohesive digital experience – and ward off fines and fintech competitors – Wells Fargo revamped its digital strategy to create teams that bridge disciplines and products.
Wells Fargo historically had a very fragmented corporate structure that segmented workers based on region and product, but it realized that it needed to simplify, expand, and blend its teams. The bank now divides itself into multi-disciplinary “garages” within its departments; each includes people in product, tech, business, marketing, risk, compliance, and legal.
For example, it has a “money movement” garage that combines a swath of people with different specialties working across ACH, real-time payments, and credit cards.
The idea is to break the silos between tech and business-focused staff to create better products, more quickly.
“You have to teach business people about tech development and tech development people about how the business works,” the head of Wells Fargo’s strategy, digital, and innovation team, Ather Williams III, told Insider.
The bank credits this new structure with allowing it to develop its robust new business portal, Vantage, in only 11 months. It’s also part of its plan to better fend off future regulatory action, like the $3.7 billion fine it recently received in part because of technological errors.
Meanwhile, dedicated Distilled readers may remember reading how other banks have disrupted their own tech strategies: JPMorgan now deems its product leaders “mini-CEOs” and relies on a mindset of “controlled autonomy,” and Truist built a dedicated innovation team called Foundry.