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Wachovia impact unclear locally

By Sarah Nagem
snagem@salisburypost.com
The future for more than 200 Wachovia employees in Rowan and Cabarrus counties is unclear.
But Citigroup Inc. plans to close only a small percentage of bank branches it obtains from Wachovia, a spokesman said Tuesday. Charlotte-based Wachovia has four branches and about 67 employees in Rowan and eight branches and about 163 employees in Cabarrus, spokeswoman Christine Shaw said.
“Today, yes,” Shaw said of job security for those employees. “But going forward, we don’t know. … Those decisions haven’t been made.”
Wachovia Corp. announced Monday it is selling its banking operations to New York-based Citigroup Inc. in the midst of a nationwide financial crisis.
Shareholders and the Federal Reserve will have to approve the deal.
Integration of the banks won’t begin until January, said Rob Julavits, spokesman for Citi. The process of taking over Wachovia will last about two years, he said.
When it’s complete, he said, Citi will have 4,300 bank branches in 22 states and Washington, D.C. The bank plans to close less than 5 percent of those, Julavits said.
Five percent would be 215 branches.
Julavits said Citi does not know yet which branches will close and what jobs will be eliminated.
“It’s just too early to even remotely speculate,” he said.
In the meantime, Wachovia branches are still operating. Customers still have access to their accounts, Shaw said.
“Right now, it’s business as usual,” she said.
Wachovia stock closed at $3.50 a share Tuesday, up $1.66 from the previous day.

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