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Wells Fargo Finds 9 Million Ways to Thank Its Employees

November 18, 1988|DOUGLAS FRANTZ | Times Staff Writer

How do you thank employees if you are a bank? Give them money, of course.

So when more than 16,000 employees of Wells Fargo arrive at work today, each one will find a check for $500 waiting.

The unusual thank-you program, created by the senior management of the San Francisco-based bank, will cost about $9 million.

"The rationale is that we have been successful, and we would not have been successful if it were not for a whole lot of good people working together," said Betty S. Lattie, a spokeswoman for the bank. "And this does nice things for people's morale."

In addition to $500 for each of 16,003 full-time employees, the bank will provide checks for $50 to each of more than 2,000 part-time employees. Further, every employee will receive a coupon for $35.

Lattie said employees will be asked to give the $35 coupon to the colleague who has been most helpful to them in doing their job. The recipients can then turn the coupons in for cash.

The bank calls the program "In Good Company," and it was announced Thursday in the company newsletter.

Wells Fargo, California's third-largest bank, has grown into one of the nation's most profitable during the past two years. Part of that profitability has come from severe cost-cutting measures, particularly in the wake of Wells Fargo's acquisition of Crocker National Bank in 1986.

"We've been working so hard the last year or two that we don't always stop to say thank you to the people we work with," Lattie said.

Wells first rewarded employees en masse in 1985, with $200 and an extra day off. In 1986, they got $200 and an extra week's vacation.

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