In 2008, as it announced plans to acquire Charlotte’s Wachovia, Wells Fargo boasted that the deal would give it a larger branch network to serve customers.
“The new Wells Fargo is – it’s just so compelling to look at the numbers,” then-CEO John Stumpf said at the time. “We will have an industry-leading 6,675 banking stores.”
Nearly nine years later, as it slashes branches in a move to trim costs, Wells Fargo has reached a different milestone of sorts: It now has fewer branches than it did before the 2008 deal.
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“Our branch network is now below 6,000 for the first time since our merger with Wachovia at the end of 2008,” Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry noted Friday during a conference call with analysts on Wells’ latest quarterly financial results.
As of the end of June, Wells reported having 5,977 branches, Friday’s report shows. That’s about 35 more than it did at the time of the Wachovia announcement. Some of Wells’ branch closures have affected the Charlotte area.
More branch cuts are ahead, as Wells sets a target of closing 450 locations over this year and next, part of a larger strategy to wring out billions of dollars in expenses. Shuttering the 450 will save approximately $170 million, starting in 2019, Wells said.