‘We see greater investment in India’
Sanjiv Sanghvi, head, global banking, Wells Fargo, says there is lot more to banking these days than the tradition-
al definition of lending activities between a
financial institution and its customers. The
Wharton School of Business alumnus, who
has been with the diversified financial serv-
ices company for 21 years, believes “bank-
ing really now ends in many ways with rela-
Sanghvi, one of the ‘100 Most Influential
People in Finance’ in 2003-04 according to
Treasury & Risk Management magazine,
discusses the secret behind Wells Fargo’s
stable performance in a shaky economy and
why he is his family’s only failure. Excerpts:
Wells Fargo’s Sanjiv Sanghvi in conversation with
Suman Guha Mozumder
You have been with Wells Fargo for more
than 20 years. What made you stick to one
company for such a long time?
I joined Wells Fargo in 1989 after finishing graduate school. They gave me a lot of
opportunities and it was a very nourishing
and exciting work environment. The principle we have in the company — that we
truly live — is that we look at people when
The Business Interview
we look at the key stake holders in the company, and that is our competitive advantage. Wells Fargo puts its team members
first. So, I had plenty of opportunity to
grow and learn to work with some wonderful people.
What have been the major challenges for
you to reach where you have?
From a personal perspective, I was
extremely fortunate; I had wonderful mentors. As I reflect on my career, I feel what is
most critical to being successful is to learn
and grow along the way. I think we have an
environment where people have trusted me
and given me a chance to grow. I don’t
think as much in terms of challenges that I
faced, but the opportunities that I received.
In corporate America it is pretty clear that
in order to be successful, you need a lot of
support, and I have been very fortunate to
have that kind of leadership and support in
every role that I had in the company. We
had good managers who were helpful and
wanted me to succeed.
Another thing is that at the company so
many of us had worked for a long time; and
I think there has been an implicit trust
among all in terms of attention/focus. We
are a very value-based organization. We put
our customers first and try to do things
ahead of time and according to the rule
book. As long as you stick to the template,
it is a company where it is fulfilling to work.
How is the Wells Fargo corporate culture
different from the rest of corporate world?
I have not worked in many other places.
So, I can only talk about what is special
about Wells Fargo rather than what makes
it different. At Wells Fargo what is special is
that we are for people first. There is a
strong recognition that the only way you
can support your customers is by making
team members love their work. It is a
reflection of one-to-one interaction with
customers and that reaffirms how much we
value relationship. And if your own people
do not feel that sense of appreciation, then
it is difficult for them to reflect on how to
treat their customers. That is how we differentiate ourselves.
Traditionally, banking has been defined as
a lending activity. Does this still hold good?
There is lot more to it now than in the
past. What we talk a lot about at Wells
Fargo is cross selling into our relationship.
I think it reflects that we see ourselves as a
more dynamic financial services company
than simply a bank. We want to be the cen-
ter post where our customers turn for a
series of financial issues. So, in terms of
what is different — our relationship man-
agers have to be very knowledgeable in
terms of how they support their customers
than in the past.