Friday, April 15, 2011

Good Night, Wachovia

Wachovia Bank, at least here in Pennsylvania, ceases to exist at the close of business today.

Wachovia and Wells Fargo have merged.  The deal actually went into effect at the end of 2008.  Wachovia branches have been flipping to Wells Fargo on a state by state basis.  This weekend, it's Pennsylvania's turn.

I've been a Wachovia customer for years.  Am I upset over this?  No.  Not at all.  Wells Fargo sent a huge packet a month ago.  It doesn't appear much will change.  As long as the people at my local branch remain competent, and they get me in and out in a hurry, I'll stick around.  If not, I'll be across the street in a heartbeat.

Seeing the red and gold Wells Fargo logo rather than the Wachovia "wave" will take a little adjustment, but it's not like we've haven't been through this before.

I've noted in the past that I opened an account at Third National.  It's changed hands several times-- Meridian, CoreStates, First Union, Wachovia, and now Wells Fargo.  The people at the sign companies are busier than the tellers.

Do we even care?  There have been so many bank mergers, acquisitions, and name changes over the years that we hardly bat an eye these days.

I was at the news conference, where one of the first of the "big deals" was announced.  It came shortly after Pennsylvania relaxed its banking regulations in the early 80's.  Pittsburgh based PNC bought Northeastern Bank, which used to be Northeastern National Bank.  It got people talking, people who feared bankers from out of the area would control who got the local loans and how much.  A lot of the worry was unwarranted, but that wasn't known at the time.

Good night, Wachovia, and you certainly won't be the last to disappear.