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Wells Fargo puts new face on several local banks

Wachovia financial centers in Fayette County and across Georgia became Wells Fargo stores over the past weekend as a result of the largest bank merger in U.S. history.

More than 2.9 million customers in Georgia can now take advantage of over 350 Wells Fargo locations and 646 ATMs across the state, with added products and services and continued support to local communities, according to a company press release.

With four bank stores in Fayette, the company is claiming No. 1 market share of 18 percent and deposits of $327 million.

The changeover took place in late September in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. These three states followed Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Nevada, and Texas where Wachovia has already transitioned to Wells Fargo. The Wachovia brand will become Wells Fargo in other Eastern states throughout 2011.

“We are proud that the Wells Fargo stagecoach has officially arrived in Fayette County, and we are eager to continue offering our customers outstanding service and even more products to help them succeed financially,” said Jim Lawrence, Wells Fargo’s community bank president for the south Atlanta metro area.

“Our team members have been planning and working for nearly two years to make this transition go as smoothly as possible. We thank them and our customers, who continue to trust us with their business.”

Already the change to Wells Fargo has brought new benefits: Wells Fargo is adding about 500 jobs across the state, most in community banking and most already hired.

Other benefits, according to the company: Customers now have more choices in checking and savings and other products ranging from renters and auto insurance to identity theft prevention; and environmentally green ATMs that accept stacks of cash or checks and don’t use paper envelopes or deposit slips have been installed.

In addition, all banking stores in Fayette and across Georgia have been remodeled to the Wells Fargo open layout to improve the customer experience and to help the environment by using environmentally green materials and systems, the company press release says.

Local communities and non-profit groups are also benefiting immediately from the changeover to Wells Fargo. To help celebrate the transition, team members are choosing more than 300 local non-profit groups for $1,000 grants through a program known as Days of Giving. Other charitable contributions will be announced at the same time as appearances by the Wells Fargo stagecoach and horses in several cities. In all, Wells Fargo is set to make $5 million in donations to some 500 non-profits across Georgia this year.

The origins of the changeover in Georgia began on Dec. 31, 2008, when Wachovia Corporation merged with Wells Fargo & Company. The Wachovia retail banking transition to Wells Fargo in the East will continue through 2011.

In Georgia, Wells Fargo serves customers at more than 350 locations including its bank stores, and the company employs 6,700 in the state, including 5,000 in the Atlanta area. Wells Fargo & Company, a financial services company with $1.2 trillion in assets, is headquartered in San Francisco. The company says it serves one in three households in America.

Wells Fargo & Company was ranked #19 on Fortune’s 2009 rankings of America’s largest corporations.

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