JPMorgan Chase vs Wells Fargo : Which One Is Better?
JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are two of the largest banks operating in the US today. Both offer world-class banking services to its customers. And both have a huge customer base across the country. But when it comes to JPMorgan Chase vs Wells Fargo, which one is better? Both of these banks’ sprawling financials are currently active in almost all banking and financials services. Moreover, these are part of the Big Four Banks of the US, others being Bank Of America and Citibank.
But not all things are always equal. And we can definitely find huge differences between the two giants.
Table of Content
- 1 JPMorgan Chase vs Wells Fargo
- 1.1 History
- 1.2 Footprint
- 1.3 Wealth Management
- 1.4 Checking Accounts
- 1.5 Savings Account
- 1.6 Customer Satisfaction
- 1.7 Controversies
- 1.7.1 JPMorgan Chase
- 1.7.2 Wells Fargo
JPMorgan Chase vs Wells Fargo
It started out as The Bank of The Manhattan Company (New York) in September 1799. In 1955, it merged with the Chase National Bank and was named The Chase Manhattan Bank. In December 2000, Chase Manhattan acquired JP Morgan & Co. in one of the largest banking mergers till date. The new company came to be known as JPMorgan Chase. They acquired Bank One in 2004 to become the largest credit car issuer in the US. JPMorgan Chase added Bear Stearns & Co. and Washington Mutual in their portfolio in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
In 1852, Henry Wells and William G. Fargo (Mayor of Buffalo, New York) formed Wells Fargo & Company to provide express and banking services to California. From the year 1987 to 1998, Wells Fargo acquired the following financial institutions:
- 1987: Personal trust business of Bank Of America
- 1988: Barclays Bank of California from Barclays plc.
- 1996: First Interstate Bancorp for $ 11.6 billion.
- 1998: merged with Norwest Corporation of Minneapolis.
In 1995, Wells Fargo became the first major US financial institution to provided Internet Banking.
JPMorgan Chase is based in New York City with a significant presence on the international stage. In the US, Chase Bank has more than 5,100 branches and 16,000 ATMs. JPMorgan Chase & Co. has 250,355 employees (and growing) with operations in more than 100 countries.
Wells Fargo, on the other hand, is specifically a domestic operator. Based in California, Wells Fargo has a massive presence across the country with a strong grasp in the West. The bank has over 8,700 retail branches and 13,000 ATMs nationwide with operations in 35 countries.
All the private clients of Chase bank receive wealth management services from JPMorgan. The services offered includes mutual funds, annuities and college planning, financial advisory services, securities-based lending. The college planning includes tax-advantaged 529 plans. All the private clients get a private client advisor and access to firm’s global strategy and global solutions teams.
Wells Fargo’s private clients receive personalized wealth planning, investment management, trust services and private banking. On top of this, clients with unique assets likes small businesses or oil or gas and minerals enjoy access to hands-on managements from the experts in these fields.
You get two high-end checking accounts with Chase: Chase Premier Plus Checking and Chase Premier Platinum Checking. Both earn an interest of 0.01% APY, but have a higher monthly fee. But one does get a part or all out-of-network ATM fees waived, depending on the account.
Unlike Chase Bank, Wells Fargo has only one interest-bearing account, Preferred Checking, with a $15 monthly fee. But, like Chase, its requirements are difficult to waive, too. And you earn an interest of 0.01% APY only (if your balance is $500 or more).
You get a basic Chase savings account. What else? The bank also offers a Chase Premier Savings, earning a slightly better rate. But this rate depends on where you live and you must have a daily balance of minimum $15,000 to avoid a $25 monthly fee. Or you can link your account to a premium Chase checking account. Highest of all rates are barely more than 0.05% APY.
Apart from the basic one, the bank also offers a premium account, Wells Fargo Platinum Savings. You must maintain a daily balance of $3,500 to avoid a $12 monthly fee and top rate is not higher than 0.05% APY.
Though the banking sector in the country has gained a bad reputation, JPMorgan Chase proves to be a silver lining. A customer satisfaction survey in 2017 by JD Power showed that JPMorgan Chase earned a higher satisfaction score in all 11 of the geographic regions broken out by the survey. The largest bank in the US by assets 2017 scored 837 out of 1,000 in the region compared with the average score among other banks of 831.
Wells Fargo has been boasting an improved customer services and it’s not completely wrong either. The survey conducted by JD Power showed that Wells Fargo performed better than the previous year, its score improving in all 11 of the geographic regions broken out by the survey.
Over the years, JPMorgan Chase has found itself amidst a number of controversies. The prominent of them all are:
Purchase of Nazi Germany’s Reichsmarks during WWII-
In 2004, a press release from the National Archives and Records Administration announced declassification of a number of FBI files. One of these files showed how during the World War II, the German Government sold a special kind of Reichsmark, called Returnee Marks, to American citizens of German descent. Chase National Bank was among those named responsible for making these transactions.
Release of funds for Nazi Germany during WWII
The same NRA files also revealed a controversy during the occupation of France by the Nazis. When Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an Executive Order to freeze German assets, Chase National Bank worked for the Nazi Government. Inspite of the order to block an access to French accounts in the US by anyone, Chase unblocked all the accounts and transferred funds through South America to Nazi Germany.
Targeted account closures
During 2013 and 2014, Chase Bank was in limelight for the practice of canceling the personal and business accounts of hundreds of legal sex workers. The reason given to justify the cancellation was the “morality clause” of their account agreement. On top of this, the bank had also been using the “morality clause” to disassociate from other types of businesses.
Like Chase bank, Wells Fargo has seen a number of controversies too. Some of them are:
Higher costs charged to African-American and Hispanic borrowers
On July 31, 2009, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a law suit against Wells Fargo, alleging that the bank steers African American and Hispanics into costly subprime loans. Furthermore, the report showed data from Baltimore where “more than half the properties subject to foreclosure on a Wells Fargo loan from 2005 to 2008 now stand vacant. And 71 percent of those are in predominantly black neighborhoods.”
2015 Violation of New York credit card laws
In February 2015, Wells Fargo had to pay $4 millions for violations, where its employee took interest in the homes of the borrowers in return for opening credit card accounts for the homeowners. The practice is illegal according to New York credit card laws.
Fake account scandal 2017
This is a fresh case and has brought a bad name to the bank. The case goes that Wells Fargo’s employees created fake accounts of their customers without their consent.
Even though these controversies have hampered the performance of both of these banks, they continue to be the top and largest banks in the Untied States. They continue to pursue quality customer service and satisfaction at any cost.