Cranes began hoisting red and yellow letters up the 20-story building at 699 Broad St. on Monday to adorn the structure with the Wells Fargo name, a tangible sign that the transition from the Wachovia brand is nearing completion.
By next week, Augusta's 15 banking branches and one drive-through bank will bear the Wells Fargo logo.
Four Aiken branches should make the switch in 2011, said Doug Fuentes, the community bank president for the eastern Georgia region.
"Our customers will definitely experience a different feel when they are in our stores," he said.
As part of the Wells Fargo changeover, customers also will notice remodeled branches that are more "open" and offer online banking stations, Fuentes said. The bank has added 30 employees to its metro staff since the switch began last year.
The company has been committed to retaining and adding customers during the transition period, said Susan Hunnicutt, the CSRA market president.
"I think that we ensure our customers are loyal through our people and making sure our employees are always as professional and knowledgeable as any customer could ever ask of them," Hunnicutt said. "That is critical for our company every day."
Wachovia-Wells Fargo has the leading market share in the Augusta area, at 21.2 percent of deposits, according to the most recent report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Since the start of this year and through August, the bank has added 1,500 households in Augusta, bringing the total number of households served close to 80,000, Fuentes said.
Retail customers will have new products offered such as home and renters insurance, more identity theft protection options, and new programs to track spending and budget savings, Fuentes said.
Business customers will go through the transition in groups, with the first group starting the change this weekend, Hunnicutt said. Some of the changes they can expect include more payroll management choices and better equipment financing opportunities.
Account numbers will remain the same for both retail and business customers, in most cases.
Several events are planned in Augusta to mark the transition.
On Nov. 17, a Wells Fargo stagecoach and horses will arrive at a yet-to-be-named elementary school and offer rides to children for three hours. The same day the company also will unveil 19 area nonprofits selected by each area branch to receive $1,000 grants, Hunnicutt said.
Work placing the new lettering atop the old Wachovia Building on Broad Street should be completed by the end of the week. The sign, which is made of aluminum, steel and polycarbonate, is 6 feet tall and 68 feet long.
The new signs at other Augusta branches will be revealed throughout the weekend, Fuentes said.