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Wells Fargo Increases Tools for Budget Management

In response to the results of the Wells Fargo & Company quarterly survey, the Company is providing new resources to aid customers on their path to financial stability. The survey showed that most people are concerned about the economy and their financial position, and 24 percent are unprepared for bad times, without enough savings to pay expenses if they lost their source of income. The survey also indicated that people are searching for ways to better manage their budgets. To meet this demand, Wells Fargo announced their Smarter Credit™ resources.

The press release reported on four services offered by the Wells Fargo Smarter Credit center that allow customers to better manage their spending, enabling them to increase their savings and pay down debt.

My Spending Report with Budget Watch is a free online money management tool that allows customers to create a budget and track it against their spending throughout the month. It categorizes transactions for the customer, allowing them to easily view their spending by category. My Savings Plan is a free online tool for Wells Fargo savings customers to save for goals and monitor progress towards those financial goals. Debt Pay Down Solution® is another online program available. Customers can consolidate high-interest debt and seek lower monthly payments through a Wells Fargo personal loan. They can use the previously mentioned My Spending Report with Budget Watch to track “what's left” (deposits minus spending) on a monthly basis. They can also transfer “what's left” to the principal of the new loan to accelerate the loan pay-down. Wells Fargo has also instituted rewards cards: Wells Fargo Cash Back Card, Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card, and Wells Fargo Home Rebate Card. These cards give customers 1 percent cash back on credit card purchases, and allow customers to automatically apply these rewards to paying off debt, building savings, or paying down a mortgage principal.

The survey conducted by Ipsos Marketing for Wells Fargo found that 80 percent of homeowners are living with debt (excluding mortgage). Grimly, half of all homeowners were found to have an average of $10,000 or more in debt, which is substantially higher in this quarter than in previous ones. “The results of the survey clearly indicate that customers need – and want – more help making smart financial decisions, and not just more help managing their financial accounts,” says Ron Shevlin, senior analyst at Aite Group. “This is an important distinction that Wells Fargo clearly understands as it rolls out these tools and services. Many financial institutions have focused on using the online channel to help their customers make it easier to manage and access accounts. Wells Fargo is taking the next step and using online tools to provide guidance and assistance in making financial decisions.”

More relevantly, the survey found a significant, recent rise in homeowners' desire to better manage debt and credit. However, while 40 percent cited this desire, only 4 percent sought professional budgeting help in the last year. “Nearly 40 percent of survey respondents say they are budgeting more, but only 15 percent are using online budgeting tools to help,” says Jamie Moldafsky, an executive vice president in the Wells Fargo Home Equity Group. “We want to educate homeowners and others on how to get on the right track toward budgeting, paying down debt and saving for their futures. With the uncertain economy and job market, it is essential that consumers take action now to be more secure with their finances.”

The Company reiterated its dedication to serving customer needs with these tools and resources. “Wells Fargo’s tools and resources are examples of our commitment to helping customers manage credit, reduce debt and increase savings,” says Kevin Rhein, Wells Fargo group executive vice president of Card Services and Consumer Lending. “Consumers need to know what is available to them. A great place to start is the Smarter Credit online center, or they can visit with one of our bankers in our stores or over the phone.”

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