Wachovia's California branches finally branded with Wells Fargo name
The stagecoach rides on.
More than a year after taking over Wachovia Corp., Wells Fargo has finally branded its name on Wachovia offices in California.
The switchover took place last weekend, when 100 Wachovia branches and 18 Wells offices were closed and merged into nearby branches. The Wachovia branches, originally offices of Oakland-based World Savings, were generally smaller and less prominently located than Wells Fargo branches.
Wachovia, once the nation's fourth-largest bank, had been based in Charlotte, N.C. It got into the California market by acquiring World Savings parent Golden West Financial Corp. in 2006, just before the mortgage market melted down.
Ensuing losses on World's specialty -- pay-option adjustable-rate mortgages -- wounded Wachovia, which nearly failed before Wells Fargo agreed to acquire it in a deal completed Dec. 31, 2008.
Wells Fargo says it now has 1,043 banking "stores" in California, slightly more offices than Bank of America and the largest retail network in the state.
The Wachovia and Wells Fargo offices already have been combined in Arizona, Nevada, Illinois, and Colorado. Wells' brand and stagecoach logo will go up at Wachovia branches in other states throughout this year and next, Wells said.
-- E. Scott Reckard