Business as usual as GJ branch said to stay open

It was business as usual Monday at the Grand Junction branch of Wachovia, 220 W. Grand Ave., after Citigroup purchased most of the company’s assets.

The Grand Junction branch will remain in business under the new management of Citigroup, employees said they had been told.

All questions were referred to corporate officials, who didn’t immediately return phone calls.

Citigroup agreed Monday to purchase Wachovia’s banking operations for $2.1 billion in a deal arranged by federal regulators.

The deal gives Citigroup more than 4,300 U.S. branches and $600 billion in deposits, placing it on a par with Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Wachovia was seized by the federal government last week. It was a significant originator of option adjustable-rate mortgages, which offered low introductory payments and allowed borrowers to defer some interest payments until later years.

Delinquencies and defaults on similar mortgages have skyrocketed in recent months, causing big losses.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in a statement that Citigroup’s takeover of Wachovia’s banking operations would “mitigate potential market disruptions” and that a “failure of Wachovia would have posed a systemic risk” to the nation’s financial system.


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