Magazine article American Banker

First 1,750 Get Pink Slips as Wells Completes Deal

Magazine article American Banker

First 1,750 Get Pink Slips as Wells Completes Deal

Article excerpt

Wells Fargo & Co. completed its takeover of First Interstate Bancorp Monday and immediately laid off 1,750 employees.

Of 45,800 full-time positions at the two banks, a total of 7,200 - or 16% -are to be eliminated by yearend.

Most of those notified Monday were in administrative, or "overhead" positions, Wells Fargo president William F. Zuendt said in an interview. Even though Wells expects to close 85% of First Interstate's California branches, no layoff notices have yet been given to branch employees.

According to a company spokeswoman, 811 of those let go Monday are in California, 399 in Arizona, 192 in Oregon, 118 in Texas, 101 in Washington, 48 in Colorado, 37 in Nevada, 29 in Utah, 9 in Idaho, and 1 in Montana. Ninety-nine of those losing their jobs are from Wells; the rest are from First Interstate. All of the Wells people laid off were working in California.

Mr. Zuendt said that as much as possible, the bank will be run as a single institution, taking advantage of new interstate banking laws that allow combinations of state charters and back office systems.

The bank ranks as the country's eighth-largest, with $116 billion of assets and $89 billion of deposits.

Wells will use its own computer systems in most instances for its 13 state network, even though, to date, those systems have principally operated in California. A conversion of First Interstate accounts to Wells' deposit accounting system is slated for California in the summer, and for the other states in the fall. …

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