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Wachovia to Wells Fargo Transition

This article was written by in Banking. 13 comments.


In addition to my bevvy of online savings accounts, I have standard, twentieth-century brick-and-mortar banking accounts, though only at two banks. I opened an account at TD Bank (formerly Commerce Bank) several years ago — because everyone loves being able to visit the branch on a Sunday. My primary branch accounts for personal and business are still at Wachovia, despite minor frustrations throughout the years.

My accounts at Wachovia resulted from a long line of mergers and acquisitions for almost two decades. Now, I’m in the process of yet another transition. Wachovia was purchased by Wells Fargo, interrupting a process in which Citigroup and the FDIC were on the cusp of taking over the institution. The bottom line is I will be a Wells Fargo customer as of next month. Wells Fargo — a name traditionally associated with Westward Expansion — recently sent a communication to customers in New Jersey, the state where I live, to guide us through the transition. I received two packages on the same day — one for my personal accounts and one for my business accounts.

The cover letters were almost identical; interestingly the personal account letter contained, “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” regarding online downtime, but the business account lettered offered no such apology. The letter was followed by a description of my current accounts and how the terms and fees will change after the conversion on February 5.

There was more. Two packets were included in each mailing. The first was a thirty-one page guide to the transition with more details about the transition and marketing materials for the bank’s products, and the second was a sixty-page disclosure statement.

With the new Wells Fargo-branded accounts, I’ll be treated to legacy terms. My accounts that are currently free will remain free and those that require a minimum balance will require the same minimum balance. The accounts that I have will not be available to new Wells Fargo customers, though. If I want to expand my banking at Wells Fargo, I might not have many free options.

While I had a nice introductory interest rate on my business money market account for the first year, I now have a good portion of money at this bank earning next to nothing. It could be earning more at a high-yield savings account. Until all the clients that pay my business offer direct deposit, I’ll stick with a local branch for at minimum business banking.

Published or updated January 7, 2011. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar eric ♦1,549 (Half-Dollar)

Good luck on those legacy terms. When Chase took over WaMu, they gave the courtesy treatment of honoring no fees and such. Fast forward some time and now they’re mailing out letters to implement monthly fees. Such is business and big banks I guess.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,490 (Platinum)

I’m surprised I was able to make is this far after many years of legacy terms, still getting around fees. I have had to increase balances in other to maintain my exemptions. I expect after a year or so with Wells, the terms will change to be less favorable.

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avatar Evan

I was thinking the same thing as Eric as I read the Post. I just got the notices that I may be getting hit with some fees!

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avatar krantcents

A smaller bank may be more flexible! I am in almost the same place after 30+ years with Bank of America. Good luck.

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avatar The Joker Brokers

Smaller banks can offer some flexibility, maybe even credit unions. Wells Fargo was the only triple A rated bank in the United States, but have the fees associated with a high rated bank. Private banking is the way to go now.

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avatar gagypsychick ♦145 (Cent)

Absolutely agree about the small banks! I’ve had nothing but pleasure dealing with my local bank!

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avatar The Joker Brokers

Private banking is the way to go now as they have done in Europe for years. Commercial retail banking will always be around, and Wells was the only AAA rated bank in the US. They are giving out the loans as in the past, but will extract extra income from somewhere?

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avatar cg

I have a Wachovia credit card and checking account that were transferred to Wells Fargo over the last year (my state did credit cards in May and checking accounts in October). I got the legacy terms on my free checking account, too, and like you I expect after a year or so for those terms to change. I will close my account the day this happens.

The only other thing about Wells Fargo that I’ve noticed is that they cannot seem to get emails correct. I want to do all my banking online and have my delivery preferences set to online only, and since the checking account moved over in October, Wells will not email me when my credit card statement is ready. VERY annoying. I’ve emailed them about it (through the online banking system), and they insist everything is okay. So, be sure you’ve got backup reminders (I use Quicken) because they don’t seem to care.

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avatar tigernicole86 ♦55 (Newbie)

I had heard great things about Wachovia in general( and also some great things about WF). I’ve been with Chase but I had previously been with another bank that got taken over by Chase long before there was the wholsesale of many banks in 2009. However, I’m gonna to have to switch banks since Chase has also decided to change their terms.

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avatar gotr31 ♦224 (Cent)

Private banking sounds like it might be the way to go.

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avatar gagypsychick ♦145 (Cent)

I left a big bank this year…I’m now with a small local bank and I’m loving every minute of it! The people are friendly and extremely helpful! I haven’t missed the big box bank at all. I’m not willing to participate with the big banksters who own wall street anymore! Keep it local, that goes for food and other things as well. I choose to not shop at the Great Wall of ChinaMart either.

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avatar LifeAndMyFinances

Thanks for the info! I currently have an account with Wachovia and knew about Wells Fargo, but I did not know about the depleted free services. I think I may just cash in on that $100 Chase offer after all! :)

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avatar Little House

I’ve been a Wells customer for years and in the past they’ve offered certain fee waivers that I’ve taken them up on, so my fees are pretty much zero. However, I’m a little worried about this coming year since some banks are increasing their fees. I hunted down a site that helps compare banks. I’m still debating whether I should switch banks, but this website was pretty useful.

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