- Wells Fargo tapped Head of Home Lending Kristy Fercho as head of diverse segments, representation, and inclusion (DSRI), the bank announced Tuesday. She will transition into the position once her current role is filled.
- Fercho will succeed former Head of DSRI Kleber Santos, who has been CEO of Wells Fargo’s consumer lending business since July.
- “Her deep business experience, including her most recent role as head of our Home Lending business, puts her in a unique position to make our [diversity, equity, and inclusion] work even more central to how we operate as a company and to drive positive outcomes for our employees and communities,” CEO Charlie Scharf said in a statement.
Wells Fargo initiated a push toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in 2020, like many companies, while the country reeled in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd.
Santos took the newly-created DSRI role that November and got to work on the DE&I efforts Scharf laid out that June, including making Wells Fargo “a place where diversity is reflected at all levels and in every facet of the company’s operations, processes, and programs” and doubling Black leadership at the bank from 6% to 12% by 2025.
Fercho was hired that August. While her upcoming role is her first DE&I position, she has a wealth of executive experience in financial institutions, as president of Flagstar Bank’s mortgage division for three years and in vice president and senior vice president roles at Fannie Mae for 15 years.
Scharf said that Fercho’s leadership will advance the bank’s long-term DE&I initiatives.
The mission is clearly important to her. Among other board positions, she serves on the boards of equity-focused non-profits National Urban League and City Year, and leads the Affordable Housing working group for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s Project Roundtable for Economic Access and Change (REACh).
MGIC asked her — the first black female president of a major mortgage company —what advice she’d give to other diverse professionals looking to forge a path to success.
“I always viewed the lack of diversity as an opportunity,” Fercho said. “When you don’t look like everyone else, you stand out. I always took advantage of that by working hard, being a team player and elevating the work of the whole team. This got me recognized and presented opportunities for me to take on more responsibility. So, my first piece of advice is: ‘every challenge presents an opportunity – figure out how to seize it!’”
She also suggested that people “build strong mentor relationships and seek sponsors who can help guide their careers…forging mentor relationships really helps you feel connected to others and the organization.”
Fercho is stepping into her new role as Wells Fargo faces scrutiny from multiple angles. On Monday, it was revealed that the bank is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for its diversity hiring practices. This and a Department of Justice investigation were prompted by a May New York Times article alleging that a bank policy requiring managers to interview a diverse group of people for some jobs led to a series of fake interviews of women and non-white candidates for positions that were no longer open.
As of its inaugural diversity report in June, 8.9% of Wells Fargo executives were Black.