While the significance of Wells Fargo’s presence on campus might not extend far past convenience for many, Lehigh has actually had a longstanding relationship with the bank.
In 1988, Wells Fargo provided security guards that monitored fraternity parties. This ended due to the lack of employees who left because of short-work hours and high insurance premiums.
In 2013, Herbert Roemmele, ’53, a stockbroker at Wells Fargo, donated $5 million to the renovation of Lehigh global commons in Williams Hall. The goal was to create a true campus hub for enhancing global competencies and international connections for all Lehigh students.
Today, the company primarily serves as Lehigh’s bank of choice. There are branches located in the University Center, on Broadway Street and there are also two ATMs on campus.
David Anthony is the branch manager at the Wells Fargo in the UC. He said that a long-term goal of the bank is to help students learn about banking and managing money.
“Wells Fargo has always been big on education,” Anthony said.
To help facilitate easier access to banking information and services, Wells Fargo encourages students to use their mobile application.
“We are very tech savvy, we’ve integrated a bunch of stuff on the app,” Anthony said.
Along with a variety of resources, the app allows for online banking where students can make money transfers, pay bills, deposit checks and more. The app is also useful in tracking purchases and payments.
This particular function of the app could be crucial for students who are just learning how to manage money. For many, college is the first time students have their own bank accounts and it can pose new challenges.
Gabriela Recalde, ’20, opened her first bank account when she was 17 years old after she received her acceptance into Lehigh. She said she was happy to finally have her money in a safe place.
“I felt like, ‘yay’ because I always just saved my money in cash and kept it under my mattress” Recalde said.
Since coming to college, Recalde, like many students, had to learn how to pace the amount of money she was spending. To help Recalde manage her money, she began putting all of her receipt amounts into an excel spreadsheet.
“I think it’s a very great way of training yourself to be aware of how much you’re spending,” Recalled said.
Rohan Ekambaram, ’21, also opened his first bank account when entering college and said he has struggled with spending too much money.
His solution has been to set a limit on how much he can spend each month. He said Wells Fargo is always useful in helping him when he has a problem.
“All the people (at the UC branch of Wells Fargo) are pretty nice,” Ekambaram said. “Most people at Wells Fargo are in my experience.”
While Ekambaram largely benefits from the convenience of Wells Fargo on campus, this causes an issue for many students living on campus who have accounts with other banks.
Katherine Koval, ’22, has a bank account with BB&T. Because there is no branch on campus, she uses online banking in between her visits to the branch in her hometown. She said cutting down on spending has also helped her avoid needing to go to her bank often.
“I don’t spend a lot of my money,” Koval said. “I save most of it.”
For other students and faculty who heavily rely on the Wells Fargo UC branch, the future might bring significant change.
Renovations to UC next year means that the Wells Fargo will shut down with the rest of the building. Workers at branch are still not sure what will be happening to it and they have declined to comment further about the matter at this time.