LOS ANGELES, October 24, 2003 – Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) said today that the number of accounts opened using the Mexican matricula card has surpassed a quarter million since November 7, 2001, when it began accepting the card.
In addition, the monthly number of new accounts opened by customers using the matricula card has increased nearly seven-fold since November 2001. An average of 22,000 new accounts were opened each of the last three months by customers using the matricula card, compared with an average of only about 3,400 in each of the three months after November 2001.
Wells Fargo, the first financial services company in the country to accept the matricula card as valid identification for account openings, requires prospective customers to have two pieces of identification in addition to a U.S. Social Security number or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).
“We’re proud to have been the first major financial services company in the United States to help Mexican nationals move from the risky cash economy into secure and reliable financial services – by promoting acceptance of the matricula card as a primary form of identification,” said Dick Kovacevich, Chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo. “By accepting the matricula card as a qualifying form of primary identification, Wells Fargo is providing a much-needed service to help Mexican nationals open a bank account and to succeed financially.”
Today, more than 150 financial institutions across the country accept the matricula card along with hundreds of police departments, cities, counties, health care insurers, airlines and retail stores. Last month, the U.S. Treasury Department decided to continue to allow banks to accept all foreign-issued identification cards, including the matricula card.
The Mexican government issues the matricula consular card to Mexican nationals at its Mexican Consulate offices throughout the United States. It has issued more than one million cards since March 2002 and requires applicants to provide proof they are residing within the jurisdiction of the Consulate office as well as proof of identity. Last year, the Mexican government began issuing new digitalized matricula cards with enhanced security features to prevent the card from being altered or copied.
“Our experience with accounts opened with the matricula card essentially has been no different than that for accounts opened with U.S. driver’s licenses or state identification cards,” said Shelley Freeman, Los Angeles regional president at Wells Fargo. “More than 38 million
Hispanics live in the U.S. – half of them in California and Texas – and we want them to know that Wells Fargo welcomes their business and wants to be the financial services company of choice for the Hispanic community.”
Wells Fargo also accepts the consular identification cards from Guatemala and Argentina as valid identification for account openings.
Six years ago, Wells Fargo was the first major financial services provider with a program specifically for Latino business owners, establishing a public lending goal of $1 billion (later increased to $3 billion over 10 years.) To date, Wells Fargo has lent more than $2.2 billion to Latino-owned businesses nationwide.
Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $391 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance from more than 5,800 stores, the Internet (wellsfargo.com) and other distribution channels across North America and elsewhere internationally. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is the only “Aaa”-rated bank in the United States.
Miriam Galicia Duarte, 213-253-3721
Mary Trigg, 213-253-7198