Wells Fargo will close its Port Angeles branch in October, the district office has announced.
The bank at 901 E. Front St., will close its doors at noon Oct. 21.
Branches in Sequim and Port Townsend will remain open, said Rosa Garcia, manager of the district that extends from Clallam to Kitsap counties.
As the COVID-19 pandemic came into focus in March, Wells Fargo had limited hours and temporarily closed 1,400 branches, about a quarter of its retail network, to comply with social distancing recommendations, The Associated Press said.
The closure of the Port Angeles branch will be permanent. The staff of eight will be helped with other employment, she said, either at Wells Fargo or elsewhere.
The building is to be sold, Garcia said, although the company plans to keep the ATM operational at the East Front Street site for as long as possible, and to seek another place for it close by when the building’s new owner needs it to be relocated.
The Port Angeles ATM gets a lot of use.
“We’ve identified a need to keep something within close proximity,” Garcia said.
A review of trends in traffic and the presence of specialty banker positions in Sequim that Wells Fargo does not have in Port Angeles guided the decision to close Port Angeles and keep the Sequim branch open at 501 W. Washington St., Garcia said. That office has a staff of seven.
The review pointed to a “more of a need to have a brick-and-mortar presence in Sequim, ” Garcia said.
“However, the ATM machine is something that we will need to have in the Port Angeles community,” she emphasized.
Garcia said that the change will not affect customer accounts and that Port Angeles clients are encouraged to visit the Sequim branch or switch to doing more banking online, by phone or through the Wells Fargo Mobile app.
“We do realize that our customers value that personal connection,” Garcia said, adding that she expects to see the Sequim branch develop more flexibility in hours.
Because of its positions such as specialty banker, mortgage partner and financial advisor, the Sequim branch “can help serve some more complex needs,” she said.
Much of the decision to close the Port Angeles branch rested on a change in customer habits since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Garcia said.
“Adjustments are made based on market factors, economic trends and customer trends,” she said.
Customers have used digital banking more this year, with second quarter logins up 20 percent and mobile deposit volumes up 108 percent, Garcia said.
“Behaviors are changing and we are staying up to date with them,” Garcia said.
“Obviously, the pandemic has propelled how quickly our customers have jumped on board to digital,” she added.
Wells Fargo officials have not decided on all the closures nationwide that will take place at this time, although more changes are not foreseen on the North Olympic Peninsula.
“Closure is not something that we take lightly. We haven’t made all determinations yet,” Garcia said.
The pandemic and economic slowdown has hurt banks as well as other businesses.
Wells Fargo’s profits plunged nearly 90 percent in the first quarter and the institution lost $2.4 billion in the second quarter, the first quarterly loss for the bank since the real estate crash of 2008, according to The Associated Press.
Phone numbers are 360-683-1166 for the Sequim branch, 360-457-1164 for the Port Angeles branch. The Port Townsend branch at 2101 Washington St. can be reached at 360-385-4444.
Online services are at wellsfargo.com. Phone service is available 24/7 at 1-800-869-3557 for consumers and 1-800-225-5935 for business.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].