SAN FRANCISCO - Wells Fargo & Co. has launched a program that lets customers fund their individual retirement accounts and buy stocks and index shares with regular, monthly contributions.

Wells ShareBuilder IRA(a) was unveiled Wednesday and is an expansion of the online investment service Wells ShareBuilder, launched in January with the ShareBuilder Securities Corp. subsidiary of Bellevue, Wash.-based Netstock Corp. The IRA service lets investors of modest means buy shares of stocks in increments by setting aside small dollar amounts.

Customers set up a traditional or Roth IRA and feed it with automatic monthly payments up to $2000 a year.

There are no fees to open or maintain a Wells ShareBuilder IRA, and purchases of individual stocks or index shares are just $2 per recurring transaction.

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