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Wells Fargo To Cut 4,600 Jobs

March 29, 1999

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Wells Fargo & Co. said in its annual report that it plans to eliminate about 4,600 jobs as part of its merger with the former Norwest Corp.

The job cuts will come over this year and next as the bank gets rid of overlapping operations with Norwest.

Since the deal with the Minnesota bank was finalized in November, Wells has been reluctant to disclose how its plans to slash $650 million in annual expenses will translate into lost jobs.

In a note in the recently mailed 1998 annual report, Wells says, ``Accrued severance-related costs relate to the elimination into 2000 of about 5 percent of the company’s positions. The majority of these reductions are the result of eliminating redundant headquarters, back office and other positions.″

The combined bank had 92,000 full-time jobs at the end of last year, suggesting that 4,600 jobs will be eliminated.

Bank spokesman Larry Haeg said that is only a rough estimate and believes the actual number could be much lower.

Haeg indicated that natural attrition could take care of most of the job cuts, with about 15 percent of employees already leaving on their own this year. A hiring freeze imposed since last summer and a ``retention initiative″ designed to retrain employees for different jobs also should help reduce the need to lay off employees.

Haeg said that 700 employees, including executives, have lost their jobs since last June. More than 10 percent have been placed in other positions.

So far, most of the cuts have been in Texas and New Mexico, where both Norwest and Wells Fargo had branches.

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