GJ Wachovia officials don’t expect much impact from buyout

The green light is on for Wells Fargo’s $11.7 billion acquisition of Wachovia Corp. after Sunday’s approval by the Federal Reserve, and the deal should be complete by the end of the year.
Area Wachovia officials said the local impact should be minimal.

“We’re 24 hours into this, so the dust really hasn’t settled,” said Tim Sewell, assistant branch manager at the 501 Main St. branch of Wachovia Securities, formerly AG Edwards & Sons Inc. “It was foreseeable for most of last week that we thought it was pretty likely this would be the outcome. This should not have any material effect on clients or on us, although it probably has some advantages.

Wells Fargo is the only Triple A-rated bank out there. It probably enhances the stability of everything they touch.”

Wachovia employs 46 people locally between the Wachovia Securities offices at 200 Grand Ave. and 501 Main St., and its bank at 100 Main St., said Joe Stroop, Dallas-based spokesman for Wachovia Corp. Wachovia acquired the World Savings office at 100 Main St. in 2006, he said.

Wachovia acquired St. Louis-based AG Edwards a year ago. In Grand Junction, Wachovia has not combined its offices with the AG Edwards office, which at 21 years remains the longest-running financial services office in the city, Sewell said.

“The question now is, are we going to stay separate or move into one building and be one big, happy family?” Sewell said. “At this point, it’s uncertain.”

Initial plans for the nationwide acquisition by Wells Fargo include Wachovia keeping its own CEO and headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., officials said.

“Services, if anything, might be enhanced,” Sewell said. “There might be some ways the banking and investment services become more intertwined. Maybe that offers some sort of benefit. But that’s speculation.”

Local officials expect more details in the coming weeks.

Wachovia has had a presence in Grand Junction since 2001.

Wells Fargo’s acquisition still has to go through a series of steps before the deal is complete, including public comment and shareholder voting.

The acquisition process slowed because Citigroup initially tried to buy Wachovia’s bank operations for $2.1 billion through a deal brokered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Four days after, Wells Fargo announced Wachovia agreed to an $11.7 billion offer. The deal was valued at $15.1 billion but

Wells Fargo’s stock has since declined. Citigroup has reportedly said it still is going to seek $60 billion for breach of contract. However, it has decided not to challenge the Wells Fargo and Wachovia deal through the courts.



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