By Wells Fargo,
Word in Black
Q: Can you describe your role at Wells Fargo?
A: I lead Diverse Segments, Representation and Inclusion (DSRI) and Home Lending for Wells Fargo. As the leader of DSRI, I am responsible for integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) into every aspect of the company’s business and delivering marketplace and workplace outcomes by developing products and services for customers from underserved communities. In this capacity, I also serve on the Wells Fargo Operating Committee. In Home Lending, I oversee one of the nation’s leading combined home lenders and servicers, managing a team of mortgage professionals in sales, operations, servicing, capital markets, portfolio management, and related business, risk management, and supporting functions. Our work on diversity, equity, and inclusion is a long-term commitment, and I am very proud to be leading a dedicated team that is committed to driving positive outcomes for our employees and communities.
Q: What would you say is the best part of the work you get to do?
A: The best part of my role in Home Lending is the privilege I have of helping people achieve the American dream. Homeownership is still the single largest financial purchase that most people will ever make, and it creates generational wealth. As the new head of DSRI, there are two aspects that mean a lot to me: 1) Helping to create the products and solutions that address the inequities in our financial system for underserved communities, and 2) Helping to inspire a culture that allows people to bring their whole selves to work to achieve our business objectives.
Q: What does diversity and inclusion mean for you?
A: Diversity and Inclusion means the company is welcoming of different perspectives and opinions, and where uniqueness can be celebrated and leveraged for the company to achieve its results.
Q: What is one piece of career advice you can give to our readers?
A: My advice is to ask the first question in meetings. It is a very effective way to get noticed, to demonstrate your engagement, and it shows interest in things that might be beyond your current set of responsibilities.
Q: Having a role in banking can seem daunting at times, what do you enjoy most outside of work?
A: Dinner with friends is one thing that I enjoy most because it is a great way to connect, to experience fellowship, and to affirm each other.
Q: Describe your proudest moment to date.
A: Being installed as the chair of the Mortgage Bankers Association has been among my proudest moments. I was the first Black and only fourth woman in the 109-year history of the organization to hold that role. My mom was in the audience during my installation, and I got to thank her publicly for all her sacrifices, love, and support. None of it would have happened without her.
Q: What would you say is the most important lesson about finances?
A: Invest in a 401(k)-retirement savings plan from day one at your company, especially if it offers a match. Your money compounds and it builds exponentially, and since it’s deducted pre-tax, you don’t even miss it.
Q: Can you describe a pivotal moment in your career?
A: A pivotal moment in my career was being asked to run a line of business. That opportunity launched my trajectory to where I am today.
Q: What does having an “authentic voice” mean for you?
I am typically the “double only” (Black woman) in the room. I feel as if it’s my obligation to bring the voice of others into the room and to offer a different perspective. If I don’t speak up, authentically, I’ve missed the opportunity to challenge thinking.
Kristy Fercho is head of Diverse Segments, Representation and Inclusion (DSRI) and head of Wells Fargo Home Lending. As the leader of DSRI, she is responsible for integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) into every aspect of the company’s business. She delivers marketplace and workplace outcomes by developing products and services to serve customers from underserved communities and driving DE&I initiatives company wide. In this capacity, Kristy serves on the Wells Fargo Operating Committee.
Kristy also continues to oversee one of the nation’s leading combined home lenders and servicers, managing a team of mortgage professionals in sales, operations, servicing, capital markets, portfolio management, and related business, risk management, and supporting functions.
Kristy joined Wells Fargo in 2020 from Flagstar Bank, where she served as president of the company’s mortgage division since 2017. Prior to joining Flagstar, she spent 15 years with Fannie Mae, where she led the strategy and business performance of single-family customers in the western United States and previously served in customer engagement and human resources (HR) roles. Kristy began her career and served in a variety of sales, operations, and HR roles at Baxter International before moving to PepsiCo Inc., where she worked in a variety of HR roles and ultimately was director of worldwide corporate HR.
Kristy is the immediate past Chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association and a member of its Residential Board of Governors. She also leads the Affordable Housing working group for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency REACh initiative. She serves on the boards of the National Urban League, Opens Doors Foundation and the Wells Fargo Foundation.
Her industry accolades include being selected for American Banker’s 2022 and 2021 “Women to Watch” list; HousingWire named her a Women of Influence in the housing industry; MReport honored her as one of the Top Women in Housing; Diversity Journal listed her among its Women Worth Watching; and National Mortgage Professional Magazine named her to its list of Most Powerful Women. Kristy is a graduate of the University of Southern California and holds a Masters of Business Administration from Saint Joseph’s University, where she serves on the Board of Trustees.