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Wells Fargo is up and running in Gainesville
Company merged with Wachovia in 2008
Tony Burrell, bottom, and Jim Mitchell, of Hilton Displays of Greenville, S.C., remove the Wachovia bank sign to reveal the new Wells Fargo sign at the Wells Fargo open house at its location at 1368 Browns Bridge Road Tuesday afternoon.

It's been two years in the making, but Wells Fargo is now a Gainesville resident.

The company merged with Wachovia in 2008. And with a special ceremony Tuesday, the company unveiled the many changes that have taken place during the conversion process.

"We are proud that the Wells Fargo stagecoach has officially arrived in Gainesville, and we are eager to continue offering our customers outstanding service and even more products to help them succeed financially," said Glenn Kelley, North Georgia community bank president for Wells Fargo.

The stagecoach that Kelley is referring to can been seen racing across the bottom of the company's bright-red signs.

Although the eight Gainesville branches have each been given a significant face-lift inside and out, bank officials said some things haven't changed.

"We want this community to know that they didn't just ship a bunch of people from (their West Coast branches)," said J.D. Mealor, Wells Fargo business banking area leader and former Wachovia employee.

"It's the same leadership team - the same people - that have been doing the same job for the same customers for years."

Former Wachovia customers will also still be able to bank at the branches they were accustomed to frequenting prior to the conversion, employees said.

To improve customer experience, the bank has added more than 500 new employees around the state. Georgia branches became the first East Coast converts.

Conversions on the East Coast will continue through 2011.

Some of the changes local customers are getting accustomed to are envelope-free ATM deposits and more online banking options.

Although Wells Fargo has more than 275,000 employees nationwide and branches in more than three-dozen states, company executives said they still want to be known as a "great local bank."

"We've gone through a lot of training to prepare for this," said Robert Horn, Wells Fargo district manager.

"We've been up and running (as Wells Fargo) for two days and we're getting better everyday."