SAN FRANCISCO - Now that they have secured the approval of shareholders, Wells Fargo & Co. and First Security Corp. are drawing up plans for an orderly integration of their operations.
Wells Fargo is taking a tried-and-true formula developed by its predecessor, the former Norwest Corp. of Minneapolis, and is working out how to retain as many employees as possible when it completes its acquisition of First Security of Salt Lake City.
Shareholders approved First Security's sale this week to Wells Fargo of San Francisco, pushing the deal a step closer to its expected closing in October.
But Wells is already putting the pieces in place for a smooth integration of First Security, less than a year after the latter's plan to merge with hometown rival Zions Bancorp fell apart during a highly public 11th-hour dispute over the deal's terms.
Wells has named a four-member "transition leadership" team of Morgan Evans, First Security's president and chief operating officer; Brad Hardy, First Security's chief financial officer and general counsel; Linda Petty, a Wells Fargo regional president; and John Stumpf, the head of Wells' western banking group.
Though Wells says it will not be able to do much in the way of concrete merger-related initiatives while the companies remain separate, it said it plans to begin letting customers of each company use the other's automated teller machines this month without incurring a fee.
First Security employees, many of whom spent the last year preparing for the Zions merger, will get a peek at their new partner this month when the Wells benefits program is explained to them.
Members of the transition team have been reviewing overlapping posts in both organizations.
"For managerial and specialized fields, we're looking throughout the company" to fill posts, Ms. Petty said. Formerly a Denver-based regional president for Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and part of Colorado, she moved to Salt Lake City when the deal was announced.
Specialized employees may have the option of moving to another Wells Fargo site or "taking jobs in Salt Lake City and travelling a lot," she said.
Meanwhile, a call center in Salt Lake City for Wells Fargo Internet products - the first of its kind for the company - is expected to open within three months, possibly as early as Sept. 1. A "good part" of the 650 posts slated for this center in First Security's buildings are expected to be filled by First Security employees, Ms. Petty said.
So far two senior First Security managers have been named to posts at Wells Fargo. Scott Nelson, currently president of First Security Bank in Utah, will be regional president for Utah and southwest Wyoming. Pat McMurray, currently executive vice president of community banking, will be regional president for Idaho.
Before the deal closes, Wells and First Security must divest branches in Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and Idaho. They are discussing the divestitures with the Federal Reserve and the Department of Justice and expect to agree on the sites and to complete the sales this month.
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