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Wells Fargo CEO: Branches still ‘enormously important’

Even though Wells Fargo & Co. is making gains in mobile banking, it doesn’t see an immediate end to banking at branches, its CEO said this week.

CEO John G. Stumpf of Wells Fargo, the third-largest bank in the country with the fifth-largest market share in the midstate, said customers continue to tell the bank branches are a necessary part of their banking experience.

“We start with our customers. Customers tell us branches are important,” he said during an investors conference call.

He said that while 80 percent of Wells Fargo customers are either online or digitally supported, the bank doesn’t foresee any mass branch closures at its approximately 6,200 retail locations throughout the country. About 75 percent of customers enter a branch at least once every six months, Stumpf said.

Wells Fargo has about 40 branches in Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties and has the highest amount of deposits of any bank in Dauphin County, according to statistics from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Its 30 N. Third St. branch in downtown Harrisburg is the busiest bank branch in the county by deposits, according to the FDIC.

Many banks have been cutting branches because of the expense of keeping them open and customers’ moves to online banking platforms, which cost banks less to keep operational.

“(For Wells Fargo) it’s connecting all the channels, not into what’s cheaper for us, that’s not how we think about that,” Stumpf said. “We think about what’s best for them, and branches still remain an enormously important part of that.”

Michael Sadowski

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