STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Wells Fargo plans to close 800 more branches by 2020

Wells Fargo, scrambling to cut costs and offset soaring legal expenses, plans to pull the plug on 800 more bank branc...

Posted: Jan 13, 2018 1:12 PM
Updated: Jan 13, 2018 1:12 PM

Wells Fargo, scrambling to cut costs and offset soaring legal expenses, plans to pull the plug on 800 more bank branches by 2020.

The planned closings, announced on Friday, will leave Wells Fargo with about 5,000 branches. The bank closed more than 200 branches last year, but still finished the year with more than 5,800, the most in the United States.

On a conference call with Wall Street analysts, Wells Fargo execs pinned the closings on Americans' increasing preference for online and mobile banking.

"We will have as many branches as our customers want for as long as they want them," said John Shrewsberry, the chief financial officer.

But analysts also see a link to Wells Fargo's infamous legal troubles. The bank's litigation expenses more than tripled to $3.3 billion last quarter. The legal costs stem from the bank's fake-account debacle, investigations into pre-crisis mortgages and "other consumer-related matters."

Those mounting expenses have unnerved Wall Street. The bank plans to cut $2 billion in expenses this year and another $2 billion in 2019.

Related: Wells Fargo's legal troubles down out huge tax windfall

Another problem: Wells Fargo's branches likely aren't the profit machines they were before the scandal. The bank abandoned its notoriously aggressive sales goals following the revelation of 3.5 million potentially fake bank and credit card accounts.

In a statement to CNNMoney, Wells Fargo said it evaluates its branch network "solely on customer trends, market factors and economic changes."

Wells Fargo did not release an estimate of how many employees will lose their jobs as a result of the planned branch closings. The bank pledged to help employees "identify opportunities within Wells Fargo, as well as within the community."

Last month, Wells Fargo announced plans to share its tax cut windfall with workers and customers by raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour and giving 40% more to charities.

Before the scandal, Wells Fargo had been much more reluctant than rivals to close branches. Between 2012 and 2016, Wells Fargo only shut about 2% of its branches, according to brokerage firm CLSA.

By comparison, JPMorgan Chase closed 9% of its branches over that span, while Bank of America shuttered 15%.

That trend has shifted. Wells Fargo close almost twice as many branches in 2017 as JPMorgan, according to figures released on Friday.

Wells Fargo plans to shut another 250 branches this year.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 131258

Reported Deaths: 1758
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28030454
Washington18386166
Marion15972233
Clackamas11499135
Lane8127107
Jackson680682
Umatilla664167
Deschutes484633
Yamhill313945
Malheur311851
Linn306542
Polk238938
Klamath236634
Josephine168931
Jefferson167525
Benton165913
Douglas165043
Union109516
Wasco105123
Columbia101518
Lincoln97317
Hood River93521
Coos92614
Morrow91910
Clatsop6614
Crook5859
Baker5515
Tillamook3572
Curry3175
Lake2285
Grant2131
Harney1684
Wallowa943
Gilliam471
Sherman470
Wheeler191
Unassigned00
Eugene
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 46°
Corvallis
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 45°
Roseburg
Partly Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 49°
North Bend
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 46°
KEZI Radar
KEZI Temperatures
KEZI Planner

LATEST FORECAST

Community Events