Wachovia To Close 64 Branches In Carolinas
Posted February 5, 2003 11:39 a.m. EST
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Wachovia Corp. will close 64 bank branches in the two Carolinas this spring as its 2001 merger with First Union Corp. nears completion.
The branches represent about 12 percent of the 502 bank locations in North Carolina and South Carolina.
The nation's fourth-largest bank will combine old First Union and Wachovia branches to one computer system and will hang new blue-and-green Wachovia signs.
The closings include 43 in North Carolina, including six in the Raleigh-Durham area, nine in the Greensboro-Winston-Salem area and 21 in South Carolina.
Wachovia isn't closing any branches; the branches to be closed are First Union branches.
Central N.C. locations include:
The consolidating branches will close May 8, the day that Wachovia starts the conversion process for all Carolinas branches. When branches open for business the following Monday, accounts will be moved to one computer system and new signs will hang outside.
Customers whose branches are closing will receive maps this week of the nearest alternative location.
Wachovia and First Union officially merged Sept. 1, 2001, but bank branches are operating separately until the changeovers. Customers have been able to use ATMs at both banks without incurring fees, but haven't been able to make deposits or conduct other business.
The company converted Florida locations in November and makes the switch Feb. 20 in Georgia. It expects to close a total of 200 branches in five states where the two banks overlap.
Some customers said they would miss the closing branches.
First Union customer Debbie Espin doesn't live near the branch in Charlotte's Park Road Shopping Center, but found it handy to take out cash for a movie at the nearby theater. A Wachovia branch is less than a block away, but across busy Woodlawn Road.
"I would believe people in this area will miss it," she said. "It's very convenient."
In some cases, branches that are next-door to each other won't close because of heavy customer use, said spokeswoman Sarah Holden. "We want to make sure customers are served well and not lined up out the door," she said.
Wachovia previously informed federal regulators of plans to close 15 of the branches in the Carolinas in low- to moderate-income areas.
Wachovia has said it purposely moved slowly with this merger, seeking a smooth transition for customers. The bank expects the conversion in 11 East Coast states to be largely complete by year's end.