NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The number of workers investing in 401(k) retirement plans administered by Wells Fargo (WFC) has risen 13% in the past four years. Their average account balance has grown even more: It's up 33%, at $93,000.
"I get very excited when I see the percentage of employees enrolling in plans ticking up over the last four years because it tells me people understand that participation in their workplace retirement plan is vital," Joe Ready, head of Wells Fargo's Institutional Retirement and Trust, said in a statement.
Altogether, the San Francisco-based bank administers plans for about 3.8 million workers at U.S. companies. The recent volume growth reflects an increase in employers enrolling workers automatically -- 40% do so now, compared with 30% in 2011 -- as well as heightened interest in retirement plans among Millennials, Wells Fargo said. Numbering 92 million, the generation born between 1980 and 2000 is the biggest in U.S. history.
About 55% of Millennial workers eligible for a Wells Fargo plan are investing in it now, up from 45% in 2011. The bank also saw growth in investment by new hires and workers making less than $40,000 a year.
"We know that systematic, pre-tax savings and investing works," Ready said. "The first critical step along that journey is to get people in the plan. To see such gains among people who are historically the hardest to get saving for retirement is also quite encouraging."
Nationwide, the amount invested in 401(k)s and similar pension plans climbed 46% over the past four years to $5.52 trillion, according to data from the Federal Reserve. Household net worth increased about 33% to $84.9 trillion.