Megan Baker, head of customer experience and marketing at Wells Fargo Auto, is always looking for ways to innovate in digital banking and enhance consumer experience at the bank.
Since joining Wells Fargo Auto in 2020, Baker has served as senior vice president and consumer lending voice of the customer leader before taking on her current role in 2021. She now focuses on building customer engagement channels, which continue to evolve as the bank moves forward on its path toward digitization.
Baker has more than 20 years of marketing experience. Prior to joining the Wells Fargo team, she founded The Invested Marketer marketing firm in 2019, held senior positions at Capital One and AT&T, worked at Summit Marketing, and served as a customer service manager for Ford Motor Company in 2001.
Under Baker’s tutelage, the number of Wells Fargo’s active digital users increased to 33.7 million from 32.9 million in Q1 2021. The bank also grew its auto portfolio by 4.3% year over year to $7.3 billion in Q1 2022.
Wells Fargo Auto had $57.3 billion in total auto outstandings at yearend 2021, and was ranked the eighth-largest auto lender by outstanding volume, according to the 2022 Big Wheels Auto Finance Data report.
Auto Finance Excellence spoke with Baker about her ability to tap into new opportunities and how she is preparing for further digital transformation at the bank. What follows is an edited version of the conversation.
Auto Finance Excellence: What are your company goals in about 10 words or less?
Megan Baker: Empower our customers to achieve their dreams.
AFE: What is your favorite piece of leadership advice ever received?
MB: “Always work a half-level up.” One of my first managers introduced me to this idea. By working a half-step above your role, you’ll show that you’re ready for the next promotion or job. Start by understanding the business drivers and skills at the next level, and then practice those skills by taking on stretch assignments. When the next opportunity arises, you’ll have concrete examples to prove you can operate at the next level.
AFE: Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
MB: At every stage of my career, I’ve found three types of mentors are essential: the visionary, the peer and the realist. The visionary is two to three levels higher in your industry and they help you understand the landscape and emerging trends. The peer is a well-connected colleague who provides insights on your team and manager. The realist is often a peer of your manager who provides honest feedback about your performance in specific situations. I’m thankful for all the mentors who helped me grow and adapt through my career journey.
AFE: What do you think is the most underrated lending trend?
MB: Even before the pandemic, we saw a blurring of the lines between traditional and digital automotive channels and services. Given the shift in buying behavior, supply chain availability and inflation, we should be prepared for more transformations in the industry. We’re already seeing a shift in the perception of vehicle ownership and an expansion of connected services. As we continue to monitor the changing landscape, we are working on ways to meet our customers where they are by expanding our digital capabilities, integrating more broadly and becoming more agile as a team.
AFE: What’s something your employees would be surprised to learn about you?
MB: One of the commitments I make to my team is to bring my whole self to work every day, so honestly, I don’t think my team would be very surprised by anything I told them. I always try to be candid about our work together, things going on for me personally, and topics affecting our team. We also use weekly stand-ups, “get to know you” team meetings and one-on-ones to check in and build a deeper connection with each other. Work is more enjoyable when you can connect with each other on multiple levels.
Auto Finance Summit, the premier industry event for auto lending and leasing, returns October 26-28 at the Wynn Las Vegas. To learn more about the 2022 event and register, visit www.AutoFinanceSummit.com.