Wells Fargo has numerous branches all over Arcadia, but only the branch at 1200 S. Baldwin Ave. features a beautiful and historically fascinating wall mural of Arcadia history.
Wells Fargo is being honored by the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce and Arcadia Historical Society on Sept. 19 as an Arcadia Business Icon at the Chamber’s monthly Networking Breakfast, sponsored year-round by Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary at 7:30 a.m. in the Sunset Room of the Santa Anita Golf Course club house.
The featured speaker on Sept. 19 will be Santa Anita Park horse race track director of publicity and radio show host Mike Willman and Pete Siberell, Santa Anita Director of Community Services and Special Projects to discuss the track’s upcoming Autumn Meet in late September and Breeders’ Cup Nov. 1-2. Santa Anita is offering two raffle prizes along with a handful of others provided by Chamber business members. Networking Breakfast tickets are $20 pre-paid and include a full breakfast buffet ($25 at the door). Members who RSVP two days in advance pay only $15. You can click the previous links to order online or call the Chamber office at 626-447-2159 or stop by the office during regular business hours at 388 W. Huntington Drive.
The 20-foot-wide x 5-foot-tall mural in the Wells Fargo lobby was installed in 2010 and features a collage of historic images including the old Pacific Electric Railway line that went through the center of Arcadia, a 1926 panoramic view of the long-gone marble-columned Arcadia City Hall, the Santa Anita Racetrack, and Arcadia founder “Lucky” Baldwin.
A sizable adjacent “key” to the mural offers some descriptions of the images. Of particular note, given Arcadia’s demographic shift over the last 20-plus years to a majority Chinese population, is an early 1900s photograph of Chinese participants in the Los Angeles Fiesta parade, and to the left a vintage “Chinese Business Houses” directory from the previous century.
Mural Program Director Beth Currie says Wells Fargo was one of the first California companies to serve Chinese customers in their native languages and was also publisher of the first directory of Chinese-owned businesses on the West Coast in 1871. That was just a few years after the bank’s agents first began offering express and banking services to residents of Los Angeles County in the 1860s.
Wells Fargo takes its history seriously. It’s not all about that iconic Old West-style stagecoach from their logo that you see on billboards and which they send to various events to offer horse-drawn rides. The mural is part of a company-wide Wells Fargo Community Mural Program “dedicated to creating unique, custom-designed, historical artwork that respects the community’s legacy, celebrates its diversity, and honors the past upon which the community was founded.”
The murals, which have been installed in more than 1,800 locations nationwide, are graphically-designed photo collages, printed on a variety of materials and incorporated into many different settings. From small towns to big cities, custom murals reflect the joint effort of many people, including Wells Fargo regional leadership and local historical societies, libraries and museums.
Images for the mural in the Arcadia branch on Baldwin Avenue were provided by the California Historical Society Collection at the University of Southern California, and the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection. The mural also features photos of historic documents from Wells Fargo’s own Corporate Archives.
The company also takes seriously its commitment to Chinese and Asian Pacific and Asian American customers and organizations:
• Gave $5.8 million to Asian American organizations such as the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) and Committee of 100 in 2011.
• Sponsored OCA’s national convention since 2007 and works to actively promote financial education activities with many of its 50 OCA chapters across the U.S.
• Founding sponsor of Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) – given nearly $2 million in scholarships since 2004.
• Teams up with local Asian organizations to host free, bi-lingual workshops on money management, and special sessions for high school students.
• For nearly 10 years, Wells Fargo and the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC) have worked together to develop programs that help Asian American business owners grow and succeed.
“Wells Fargo is committed to helping Asian American customers, communities and nonprofit organizations succeed financially,” says Nancy Wong, SVP, Asian Segment Manager. “We seek to develop meaningful, long-lasting relationships to better understand how Wells Fargo can best support the community and its members’ financial needs.”
But of course, Wells Fargo caters to customers of all cultures, and is particularly focused on support of small business in general. Wells Fargo loans more money to America’s small businesses than any other bank (2002-2010 Community Reinvestment Act government data) and is a leading lender to women- and diverse-owned businesses. Through a full array of business products and services, including credit cards, loans and lines of credit, cash management, payroll, merchant payment solutions, retirement, and online banking, Wells Fargo is committed to helping Asian business owners succeed financially.