Wells Fargo has agreed to modify second-lien mortgages as part of the government’s foreclosure prevention efforts, becoming the second lender following Bank of America’s announcement in January to take part in the new program. Designed to lower payments on second mortgages for distressed borrowers, the program is a component of the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program, HAMP.

Never mind that they may be associated with the financial crisis, bailouts and credit card rate hikes, but four financial giants cracked the top 50 most admired companies list by Fortune magazine. Apple took the top spot, while Google, Berkshire Hathaway, Johnson & Johnson and Amazon.com rounded out the top five. Goldman Sachs Group – labeled the “strongest financial services firm to emerge from the recession” – ranked 8th.

The head of wholesale banking at Wells Fargo told a Congressional panel today that while the market for small business lending remains soft, it is improving with greater competition for “well-underwritten loan opportunities.”
David Hoyt also said that Wells Fargo is taking another look at small business loans it has declined as part of an effort to ensure that it makes “every good loan we can.”

One of the top mortgage lenders, Wells Fargo is making strides in mortgage modifications, both under the government’s foreclosure rescue program, and at twice the rate with non-governmental mortgage reduction trials. The U.S. Treasury’s report on the Obama Administration program – Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) – placed Wells Fargo third in total active modifications with 137,128 through January, behind Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase.

The online video stalwart may have an advantage in the public opinion arena. It didn’t have to take a government bailout and its executives aren’t associated with Wall Street’s elite. Nonetheless, customers feel much better about their Netflix than their big banks: particularly Bank of America and Chase, according to the latest report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

In the age of social media, spreading the word to consumers on how to keep their identity safe is as vital as ever, and Wells Fargo is helping do just that. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, the country’s fourth largest bank by assets, has come up with seven pieces of advice on protecting personal information – the kind of tips that can help keep credit card and identity fraud at bay. The bank co-sponsored the Javelin Strategy & Research ID Fraud Survey, which found that the number of identity theft victims in the United States rose 12 percent to 11.1 million last year.