Wells Fargo plans to close regional offices in its auto-lending operation as part of a consolidation effort that will affect Charlotte and other U.S. markets, according to a memo obtained by the Observer.
Staff in loan funding roles will be centralized to two hubs – in Chandler, Ariz. and Irving, Texas, reads the memo sent to employees this week. The initiative also calls for 57 regional business center offices to eventually be closed, and those manager roles will be phased out, the memo said. One of those offices is in Charlotte, at 4525 Sharon Road, according to the bank.
The San Francisco-based company said it does not disclose how many people nationwide work in the auto unit, known as Wells Fargo Dealer Services and which largely provides loans for used-vehicle purchases. The bank declined to disclose how many layoffs might result in Charlotte or elsewhere.
Wells employs about 24,100 people across a variety of business lines in the region.
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During the past several months, Wells Fargo has taken “a closer look” at the auto business, according to the memo, “Building a Better Auto Lending Business for the Future.” The note, which cites changing customer demands and Wells’ efforts to more effectively manage risk, says the changes will “strengthen our business and position us for the future.”
According to the memo, credit underwriters will shift to a regional reporting structure while continuing to remain in local offices. Relationship teams will also continue to work from local offices to be near auto dealers served by Wells.
The move comes as Wells Fargo is seeking to trim billions of dollars in expenses in the wake of a sales scandal that erupted in September over fake accounts in its community banking business. Those cost-slashing plans include closing hundreds of branches, centralizing functions and cutting outside consultants.
“Wells Fargo is making changes to our Dealer Services structure so we can deliver better service to our consumer and dealer customers while providing team members access to improved technology, training and career progression,” spokeswoman Catherine Pulley said in a statement.
The changes were made “with careful consideration for our team members, dealer relationships and consumer customers,” Pulley said.
Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248