Seven suburban branches will remain for now.
“At this time we cannot provide details on other locations that may close,” the Wells Fargo spokesman, Steven Carlson, said in an email. “However, we will continue to keep top of mind the needs of our communities and employees.”
For years, Wells Fargo, the fourth-largest U.S. bank, had poked around for potential acquisitions that would have served as entry points into the Chicago market. The bank serves much smaller Midwestern markets surrounding Chicago but couldn’t find a wedge into the informal capital of the Midwest.
The entry came almost accidentally with the 2008 purchase of Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia, which was drowning in bad AG亚洲国际游戏home loans. Wachovia’s earlier acquisition of California’s World Savings Bank had led to the mortgage woes. World Savings had the eight Chicago-area branches, which ended up with Wells Fargo.
After Huntley’s closure, Wells Fargo’s retail branches in the area are in Evanston, Glenview, Niles, Palatine, Elmhurst, Schaumburg and Westchester.
“We encourage our (Huntley) customers to use our other nearby suburban Chicago branches, including the ones located approximately 30 miles away in Schaumburg and Palatine,” Carlson said in the email.
Wells is the 12th-largest area bank by deposits, according to the most recent Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data. Most of its $8.9 billion in local deposits are commercial, though. Not counting the billions held in its downstate Chicago office, $1.2 billion in deposits were housed in Wells’ suburban branches as of June 30, according to the FDIC.
The Huntley branch held $66 million.
Those suburban branches haven’t performed particularly well over the past several years, as Wells’ reputation was soiled by scandal. Marketing pressure from the top led bankers to open accounts on behalf of customers without their knowledge or consent. The bank has paid billions in fines and remains under a cloud from revelations that first emerged four years ago.
Charles Scharf, one-time senior executive at Bank One in Chicago before going on to bigger roles at JPMorgan Chase, Visa and Bank of New York Mellon, was named Wells Fargo’s CEO late last year. He’s announced plans to close branches as a cost-savings measure. Wells Fargo has closed hundreds nationwide just this year. It has more than 5,000 across the country.
Wells, of course, is one of many banks accelerating retail consolidation since the onset of the COVID pandemic. Many locations closed temporarily as a public-health measure; only some of those are reopening.
The decision to close the Huntley branch was not “taken lightly,” Carlson wrote.
“There will be no change in how customer accounts will be handled, no matter where or how they choose to bank with Wells Fargo,” he wrote. “While branches are important in serving our customers’ needs, in general we’ve seen customer traffic decline over the past few years as a result of more customers choosing digital options for many of their banking needs.”