Wells Fargo to finish Wachovia integration this weekend

Wells Fargo to finish Wachovia integration this weekend


Wells Fargo is completing the largest bank integration in U.S. history, and its 10th market switchover since taking over a collapsing Wachovia in late 2008. The bank said there will be 1.2 million N.C. households and 317 Wachovia branches affected by the change this weekend.

Wells Fargo has kept a major hub of about 2,900 jobs in Winston-Salem, which has come as a relief to local officials because there was no guarantee that Citigroup Inc. — the other suitor for Wachovia in 2008 — would have kept any local presence aside from branches.

"We've taken the best practices from the previous nine conversions and applied them to North Carolina," Leslie Hayes, regional president of the Triad West community banking unit for Wells Fargo, said Wednesday.

But once the weekend is over — and local celebratory events are finished on Oct. 20 — bank officials said they are ready to push forward into the Wells Fargo era of a local financial presence 132 years old.

Analysts expect the branch and software switchover to go smoothly considering there is very little overlap between the banks in North Carolina. By comparison, there was much more anxiety when First Union Corp. conducted its conversion to Wachovia branches in the Carolinas in May 2003.

"The conversion will be a quiet event," said Tony Plath, a finance professor at UNC Charlotte. "Wells Fargo has worked out just about all the conversion bugs."

Comment: My wife has been a part of this big project over the last 2½ years: many nights and weekends. This weekend she works Saturday night from 11:30 p.m. until 10:00 a.m. Sunday

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