Bank Watch

Why Wells Fargo has 2 branches 500 feet apart in south Charlotte – and why one is going away

This Wells Fargo branch is closing on Providence Road, but the one 500 feet away is staying open.
This Wells Fargo branch is closing on Providence Road, but the one 500 feet away is staying open.

If you’ve ever been in the Arboretum area of south Charlotte, you might have noticed how Wells Fargo dominates the intersection at Providence and Pineville-Matthews roads. The bank has two branches about 500 feet apart.

But after Friday, nobody will need to scratch their heads about that arrangement again, because one of those branches is going away.

Wells says Friday will be the last day of operation for the branch at 7939 Providence Road, while its very close neighbor at 2821 Pineville-Matthews Road is staying in business.

The Providence Road branch and its employees will be relocated, Wells Fargo said, to the Waverly mixed-use development about 4 miles away. That branch will officially open Monday. The old location will be sold, the bank said.

It has probably seemed excessive to passersby for Wells to have two branches so close together. But it’s a peculiarity rooted in Charlotte’s long history of one bank gobbling up another.

Charlotte banking titan First Union once operated the Pineville-Matthews Road branch, while Winston-Salem-based rival Wachovia had the Providence Road branch.

When Wachovia and First Union merged in 2001, the combined bank eliminated many of its overlapping locations, but held onto both branches near the Arboretum. The locations then took the Wells Fargo name in 2008, when the San Francisco-based bank bought Wachovia.

Eight year later, Wells Fargo is finally pulling the plug on a decades-old south Charlotte fixture.

A Wells Fargo spokesman said the decision was part of the bank’s continuous evaluation of its branch network. Wells Fargo’s “physical distribution strategy is driven by customer behavior, market factors, economic trends and competitor actions,” spokesman Josh Dunn said.

Last month, Wells Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry said the bank plans to close more than 400 branches over the next two years as it pushes to cut roughly $2 billion in costs by the end of next year. The bank is expecting to face higher legal and other costs as it deals with a scandal over unauthorized accounts.

Wells Fargo has not said whether any Charlotte branches will be part of the 400 closures. But starting Monday, the Bank of America branch that’s also at the corner of Providence and Pineville-Matthews roads will have a little less competition.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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