Wells Fargo Cuts Back SMB Card Unit As Part Of Card Processing Restructure

About 50 Wells Fargo employees were laid off from its SMB card processing unit as the bank works to restructure the entire unit geared toward small- and medium-sized businesses.

The positions were cut early in the week, according to internal sources, and affected employees were salespeople in Wells Fargo Merchant Services LLC, focusing on retail small business customers.

Wells Fargo Spokeswoman Sara Hassell added in a statement that the bank is reducing the number of employees in the business “to better align with current volumes.”

She further noted that Wells Fargo will attempt to move those laid-off employees to other jobs within the company. Hassell also reported that the layoffs didn’t impact other parts of Wells Fargo Merchant Services that work with larger customers elsewhere in the bank.

Wells Fargo offers merchant services in partnership with payment processor First Data Corp., which leases or sells point-of-sale equipment to retailers and other businesses. Bank of America Corp.’s merchant services business, which also operates in conjunction with First Data, laid off around 250 employees in September.

The layoffs are also reportedly unrelated to a coming 2018 rollout of a mobile app geared toward small business merchant services customers.

However, the layoffs are part of a larger story within the bank. As of September 30, Wells Fargo had 268,000 employees — down 1 percent from 270,600 the prior quarter and down slightly from the year earlier.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.