Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia Bank in 2008. If you need information on a prior Wachovia account, contact Wells Fargo at 1-800-869-3557. If you’re looking for a mortgage, find a lender and learn about your options here.
The Origins of Wachovia
Wachovia’s journey began in 1879 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Named after the Moravian settlement of Wachovia, which was chosen for its resemblance to the Austrian Wachau valley, the bank grew rapidly. Its expansion was significantly bolstered by a merger with the Wachovia Loan and Trust Company in 1911, making it a dominant financial player in the Southeastern United States.
Throughout the 20th century, Wachovia pursued a strategy of expansion. Key acquisitions included the purchase of First Atlanta in 1986, expansion into South Carolina in 1991, and a significant presence in Virginia through the acquisition of Jefferson National Bank and Central Fidelity Bank.
The Merger with First Union
A pivotal moment in Wachovia’s history was its 2001 merger with First Union Corporation. Despite initial skepticism, this merger was largely deemed a success, avoiding the pitfalls encountered by other large-scale banking mergers at the time. This merger, based on a stock exchange valued at approximately $13.4 billion, saw the combined entity adopting Wachovia’s name and branding, though First Union was the nominal survivor.
The Acquisition by Wells Fargo
The 2008 financial crisis brought significant challenges to Wachovia, culminating in its acquisition by Wells Fargo. This government-forced sale was a strategic move to avoid the failure of Wachovia. The merger, completed on December 31, 2008, created one of the largest financial services companies in North America, with an extensive distribution system.
Wachovia’s influence extended beyond banking. The bank’s name graced numerous buildings and sports arenas, reflecting its status as a corporate giant. With the merger, these landmarks underwent rebranding, symbolizing the end of an era.