- Wells Fargo named Dawson Her Many Horses, head of Native American banking for the lender’s commercial bank, as a managing director, the company announced Monday.
- The move comes as Wells Fargo fights a spotty track record on diversity.
- Wells Fargo has banking relationships with one-third of U.S. federally recognized tribes, accounting for roughly $3.4 billion in credit commitments and $4.1 billion in deposits, the bank said Monday.
Wells Fargo has drawn criticism in recent years for its treatment of race both in the workplace and as a lender. About a dozen current and former employees of the bank told The New York Times in May 2022 that Wells Fargo held phony job interviews for nonwhite and female job-seekers for positions that had already been offered to other candidates.
The bank enacted a policy in 2020 requiring that half of candidates for positions paying $100,000 or more per year be diverse. The fake-interview allegations, however, prompted Wells Fargo to pause its diverse-slate hiring effort in June 2022, then restart it two months later, with a tweak: that the diverse-candidate requirement would apply to roles based on job level rather than compensation.
“Dawson has grown in his career from serving the financial needs of tribal governments and tribally owned enterprises to becoming the go-to national leader helping increase the flow of capital to tribal communities,” Ruth Jacks, head of diverse segments for Wells Fargo’s commercial bank, said in a statement Monday. “I am excited to see him recognized with this promotion.”
Her Many Horses, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, joined Wells Fargo in 2018 as senior vice president in middle market banking and became head of Native American banking in 2021. He co-chairs the bank’s National Unbanked Advisory Task Force and was also selected as a fellow this year by the Aspen Institute.
“I’m proud of the work we do with our tribal clients,” Her Many Horses told Bloomberg. “We’re trying to step up in a way that’s meaningful and helpful.”
Wells disclosed, in its first diversity and inclusion report last year, that women comprised 44.3% of executives at the bank in 2021 — up from 41.7% a year earlier.
About 8.9% of the bank’s executives in 2021 were Black, according to the report. That compares with 5.8% in 2020. The proportion of executives who identified as Latinx jumped to 4.7% in 2021, from 3.9% in 2020. About 73.3% of Wells executives in 2021 were White.
The bank, as recently as last month, fielded racially charged complaints regarding mortgage lending. A group of current and former Wells Fargo employees sued the bank in June, alleging it discriminated against bilingual Hispanic mortgage sales team members and Hispanic customers. The employees allege they were directed to steer Spanish-speaking customers away from home equity lines of credit into costlier and more profitable refinancing options without any associated disclosures. The employees also said the bank did not let the bilingual team join a pilot program that guaranteed commission to English-speaking mortgage consultants irrespective of their actual sales.
A spokesperson for the bank told Banking Dive this week the suit’s claims “misrepresent the conversations our home mortgage consultants are having with our customers.”
Wells Fargo also took flak last year after a Bloomberg analysis found the bank approved 47% of refinance applications from Black homeowners in 2020 but 72% from White borrowers. Wells narrowed that gap slightly in 2021, accepting 58% of refinancing applications from Black homeowners. But acceptance figures for White borrowers also increased — to 79%.