Wells Fargo said last week it will raise its minimum wage in most of its U.S. markets by the end of the year, the latest in a flurry of employee and customer benefits the bank has announced ahead of two Congressional hearings.
The minimum wage hike will correspond to the cost-of-living in respective markets. Employees in New York and San Francisco, the most-expensive tier of cities, will see a $5 per hour raise to $20 an hour.
One tier below, Wells workers in Washington D.C. have a minimum wage of $18 an hour, and below that are Charlotte and Des Moines at $16 an hour.
The cheapest markets will see no change from the current $15 per hour companywide minimum wage, in place since 2018.
Wells Fargo employees can check an internal website to see how much, if at all, the minimum wage will change in their area, according to spokesman Peter Gilchrist. While higher than the federal minimum wage, it’s still below that of peer Bank of America, which, as of the end of the first quarter of the year, will pay a minimum of $20 an hour.
“Our employees are our most valuable resource, and these pay increases are just one way we are investing in our people and ensuring that Wells Fargo continues to be a great place to work,” CEO Charlie Scharf said in a press release.
The announcement of higher employee pay comes ahead of Tuesday’s hearing on Wells Fargo in the House Financial Services Committee, where Scharf will testify.
Last month, the bank agreed to a $3 billion fine to settle long-running probes by federal officials into the bank’s sales practices. Democrats, including the committee’s chair U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California, criticized the fine as too small.
Wells Fargo board members will testify on Wednesday.
Past hearings have been disastrous for the bank, with lawmakers of both parties upbraiding the bank for its sales misconduct scandals.
The last time a Wells Fargo CEO testified — Tim Sloan in March of last year — resulted in a rebuke from regulators and, in part, the resignation of Sloan later that month. Scharf, likely hoping to avoid a similar fate, has announced multiple changes that might give lawmakers an indication that things are actually changing at the long-beleaguered bank.
Last week Wells also announced the creation of a new bank account without overdraft fees.
In February, the bank announced that it was ending the use of forced arbitration in sexual harassment cases. Combined with the minimum wage hike, the bank will have to wait until Tuesday to see if it will be enough to placate Congress.