Wells Fargo Bank Closing its Big Sandy Branch in November


August 14, 2019

I tried to visit with Wells Fargo personal to ask a few questions. Some of the questions I asked were leading, I admit. I only got the same information everyone received in their letters informing them of the bank closure. The questions I asked were: "The decision to close the bank was because the structural foundation of the bank is unsafe. (Wells Fargo Bank is 108 years old) I was also told customers were down. Big Sandy only has Wells Fargo Bank, and the closure would leave the town with no bank was that ever apart of the decision? What are you telling businesses to do who depend on cash daily? Is the bank for sale, how much is the asking price, and is there a clause that prohibits another bank from buying it and setting up a business? The closure will greatly affect customers in Big Sandy, and everyone is concerned about those who are disabled or old. Comment? Have you considered you will lose customers? Lastly, there has been no mention of Wells Fargo's financial shortfall, and cutting branch offices would help their billion-dollar legal costs? I will be discussing this in the article I write, to let you know, in case you would like to respond."

I called and was asked to send my questions in writing. I received. "Hi, Lorrie-Thanks for reaching out."

"Here's what I can tell you. Wells Fargo is closing the Big Sandy branch on Nov. 6, 2019, at noon. Until then, customers can use this branch and bank with us as they always have. After that, customers can visit us at our Havre branch, approximately 35 miles away. Wells Fargo also offers many convenient ways to bank, including by phone, mail, online and mobile."

"This is not an easy decision or one that we take lightly. We continually evaluate our branch network and make adjustments based on customer use, market factors, economic trends, and competitor actions. This process leads to both expansion and consolidations. In the case of our Big Sandy branch, the building infrastructure needs to be updated, and we've seen a decrease in customer traffic over the last few years."

"While branches continue to be important in serving our customers' needs, we're finding that customers are often using our wide range of digital capabilities for many of their banking needs. As a result, more transactions are happening outside the branch. In addition, it's important to recognize that a physical branch is not the only way for us to serve rural markets. In addition to digital banking, we remain active with mortgage loan officers, commercial offices, contact centers, and financial advisors across the country."

"We are evaluating options for the building. We also hope to leave an ATM in the Big Sandy community, and we are looking for space to lease."

"You may attribute any of this to me as a spokesperson for Wells Fargo. Hope that helps!"

"Thank you!" Heather Meyer, Communications Consultant Upper Midwest Regional Communications. She ended her letter with, "Follow me on Twitter@MeyHeatherWF"

Although Wells Fargo's financial situation is well discussed in mainline news and has for years since the start of its legal woes in 2016. Hannah Levitt wrote in a May 3, 2019 article, "Wells Fargo might have to spend as much as $3.1 billion more than what it set aside by the end of March to resolve investigations and other legal woes, up from $2.7 billion at the end of December. The firm attributed the rise to a "variety of matters."

Erik Sherman wrote, "Wells Fargo sent a statement that it serves "significantly more markets than any other national bank peers, including in underserved communities where our branch closures have been notably lower (down 5 percent between 2014-2018) than closures in other markets (down 13 percent between 2014-2018)."

Big Sandy Wells Fargo personal are concerned what will happen to their customers. If you want to keep your bank accounts in Wells Fargo, there is nothing you have to do, because everything remains the same and all you have to do is go to Havre to the bank. Demra Ophus and Gloria Godfrey have worked for the bank for 30 years and have seen many changes over the years. They know their customers.


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