Blog: A gift to reconnect with the Asian community

From left: Efren Pascua, manager of Wells Fargo Bank’s ID branch, Patrick Yalung, its regional president, and Teri Wong, business relationship manager, who organizes the Mid-Autumn Festival dinner. (Photo by Assunta Ng/NWAW)

Wells Fargo Bank is not the first big bank to open in the International District, but it does have a strong connection with the Asian community, which began during the Gold Rush.

I was surprised that Wells Fargo held a Mid-Autumn Festival celebration for its Asian customers on Sept. 14 at the O’Asian Restaurant. Other banks dropped the tradition this year. Wells Fargo’s last festival party was five years ago.

At the dinner, Patrick Yalung, regional president of Wells Fargo, said the bank published bilingual directories in California in 1855 “to facilitate trade with Chinese businesses, and [for] hired interpreters to provide swift and reliable banking and letter delivery service.” Yalung, who is Filipino and white, is also the bank’s national spokesperson for Asian business services.

Wells Fargo also hired a Japanese man in San Francisco in 1858, to aid Japanese sailors rescued from a disabled ship. Commerce with Japan began in 1867.

There was a big surprise for all the guests before they went home. Each guest received a gold-plated medallion and other goodies.

Apparently, Wells Fargo remembers that Asians have been loyal customers since 1852 when it opened.

From Wells Fargo, I learned to always do things differently than your competitors. ♦

*This was edited on Sept. 29.

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