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WFC to Close Wachovia Transition

WFC FITB

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Earlier this week, Wells Fargo & Company (WFC - Analyst Report) announced that it will complete the transition of the remaining Wachovia signs and systems into WFC by mid-October 2011.

Specifically, Wachovia’s stores at Virginia will be converted in August, Maryland, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. in September and finally North Carolina in October. The conversion of 868 stores and 1,487 ATMs in the four states and the District of Columbia will put an end to the transition from Wachovia to WFC.

WFC purchased Wachovia in December 2008, in a $12.7 billion all-stock deal, after Wachovia suffered trouble due to its exposure to bad mortgages right before the housing bubble burst.

With the completion of the merger, Wachovia’s transition to WFC began. In connection with this, the company hired hundreds of added tellers and bankers across the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic.

Recently, WFC converted Wachovia’s banking locations in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania. Florida locations will be converted in June and July of 2011. WFC has also converted Wachovia stores in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, Tennessee and Texas.

Completed integrations included conversion of Wachovia Mortgage to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and bringing brokerage operations under Wells Fargo Advisors.

WFC has given assurance to customers for delivering services as before with the smooth completion of the transition.

With its diverse geographic and business mix, WFC is well positioned compared to its peers. The Wachovia acquisition and the demise of some smaller players helped it the company to garner a larger share in the mortgage markets. Yet, the regulatory issues remain a headwind.

WFC currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term ‘Hold’ rating. The company’s peer – Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB - Analyst Report) also retains a Zacks #3 Rank (a short-term Hold rating).

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