Wells Fargo’s client lending head leaving after two years

Wells Fargo’s head of consumer lending is leaving just two years after being hired by CEO Charlie Scharf.

Mike Weinbach, whom Scharf poached from JPMorgan Chase in the early days of his tenure, will leave Wells Fargo in mid-September to help the division transition to its new leader. Kleber Santos, the bank’s head of diverse segments, representation and inclusion, became the consumer lending group’s new chief on Monday.

The departure comes as the $1.9 trillion-asset Wells Fargo continues coming under scrutiny from regulators and Democratic lawmakers. 

Weinbach oversees the company’s auto, credit card, merchant services, personal lending and home lending groups. The latter division has gotten criticism from top Democrats over a Bloomberg report that found it denied half of Black mortgage refinance applicants in 2020. Regulators also fined Wells Fargo $250 million last year partly partly because of continued issues in its mortgage division.

Under Weinbach’s tenure, the consumer lending group has also launched a new portfolio of credit cards in a revamp of what Scharf has described as a historically underperforming segment.

In a press release, Scharf called Weinbach a “great leader and an even better person.” 

“Mike and I have been discussing his desire to do something different, and we recently agreed that now is the right time,” Scharf said. “I wish him well in his future endeavors, which I am confident he will meet with great success.”

Scharf, who joined Wells Fargo in 2019, had hired Weinbach as part of an organizational shake-up of the bank and made him leader of the newly created consumer lending division. The group split off Wells Fargo’s consumer lending group from its consumer banking operations, whose sales practices led to a long list of regulatory troubles. Scharf said Weinbach “worked tirelessly” to get the new division off the ground.

Santos joined Wells Fargo in November 2020 to lead a diverse segments group that Scharf had launched. He will stay on as that division’s head as the bank conducts a search for a permanent executive.

In the press release, Scharf called Santos a “proven leader” who has significantly boosted Wells Fargo’s representation and inclusion outcomes and pointed to Santos’s retail banking experience. He had previously spent 15 years at Capital One Financial and was the McLean, Virginia-based bank’s president of retail and direct banking. 

“I’m confident that his capabilities and his drive will help us continue to strengthen Consumer Lending and prepare it for future growth,” Scharf said.

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