It makes sense: Wells Fargo has been in the transportation business since its very first day.
In 1852, Wells Fargo’s first office opened in gold rush San Francisco to provide express and financial services to pioneer merchants, ranchers, miners and settlers. Agents shipped money and goods by the fastest means available—steamship, railroad, Pony Express or stagecoach.
Wells Fargo’s stagecoach network was the nation’s largest in the 1860s, with lines running from desert to mountains, Pacific Ocean to Missouri River; and from there, connections east. When railroads expanded across the continent, Wells Fargo was aboard, and boasted “Ocean to Ocean” service in 1888. A fleet of refrigerated rail cars could deliver Washington Salmon to the Piedmont, or fresh California fruit to snowbound prairies.
Wells Fargo’s express deliveries rolled through America’s streets in famed Wells Fargo wagons. (Different from stagecoaches.) The excitement created by the horse-drawn Wells Fargo wagons was captured in the song “Wells Fargo Wagon,” from Meredith Willson’s The Music Man.
In 1910, Wells Fargo deployed motor trucks in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Orange, New Jersey with “splendid results.” The trucks from New Jersey covered the Bronx, and one five-ton truck did as much work as three or four wagons. Until 1918, and the end of Wells Fargo’s express business, motor trucks carried Wells Fargo express in many urban locations.
Wells Fargo’s family of companies has long financed trucks and heavy equipment. Norwest really got things going in 1972, and by the 1990s, had a solid reputation for expertise and for having a financial services specialty in the transportation industry. Norwest joined Wells Fargo in a merger of equals in 1998.
Today, Wells Fargo-branded tractor trailers carry stagecoaches to and from appearances and events, hundreds of times each year—including an appearance of both tractor trailer and stagecoach at the Mid-America Show.
Wells Fargo Equipment Finance and Wells Fargo Capital Finance support the industry every day. In 2013, over $1.5 billion in loans and leases were originated, and over $1 billion in accounts receivable financing programs were funded. Now, as always, Wells Fargo is committed to supporting the industry, and helping it navigate the road ahead.