MANATEE -- The 24 Wachovia bank branches in Manatee and north Sarasota counties will officially transition to Wells Fargo on Saturday in the next-to-last phase of a transition that began in late 2010.
As part of the transition, customers can expect access to new services that include renters insurance, identity theft protection, more credit card and merchant services for small businesses, and Express Send, which is an affordable means to send money to 15 countries.
The visible transition will include Wells Fargo’s red and gold colors in place of Wachovia’s blue and green, and the installation of murals that depict local community history. Wells Fargo will also hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday at its downtown Bradenton location at 303 9th St. West.
As part of the transition, Wells Fargo boosted its Manatee/Sarasota workforce to 400 by adding about 50 employees in the last 18 months, said Tim Alther, Wells Fargo’s community bank president for Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and DeSoto counties.
“While we may change our signs and our products and refresh the inside of our lobbies with new paint jobs, nothing is more important than the people that work for us,” Alther said. “I’m glad we’ve added more staff, and that we’ll continue to add more.”
Florida is one of the last five states nationwide to make the transition from Wachovia to Wells Fargo, which purchased Wachovia in December 2008 for $12.7 billion. Once Florida is finished with the change, the states of Maryland, the greater D.C. area, Virginia and North and South Carolina will follow later this year.
Wachovia banks everywhere converted months ago to Wells Fargo’s ATMs, which do not require envelopes or deposit slips, accept up to 30 checks or 50 cash bills, and accept those deposits until 9 p.m.
The six Wachovia branches located in south Sarasota County will make the official transition in July, Alther said.
Wells Fargo is the 12th-largest employer in the United States and is estimated to serve one-third of the country’s population, according to spokesperson Christina Kolbjornsen.
Nationwide, and including former Wachovia locations, the banking giant has 9,000 locations, 12,000 ATMs and $1.3 trillion in assets.
Christine Hawes, Bradenton Herald business writer, can be reached at (941) 745-7081.