Wells Fargo Shoreline Branch to close in Oct.

A Wells Fargo bank sits off North Tongass Highway on July 25. Staff photo by Taylor Balkom

The Wells Fargo Shoreline Branch and drive-up at 4966 North Tongass Highway will be closing at the beginning of October, according to Patrick Ryland, Southeast Alaska district manager.  

Ryland said several factors go into the company's decision to close a branch.

"It's based on a variety of factors, but the main driving factor is we take a look and analyze which branches close by customer traffic and what customers are telling us and what their transaction preference is," Ryland told the Daily News.

"Our customers have become very comfortable and really enjoy the convenience that Wells Fargo offers with our virtual channels, ranging from our envelope-free ATM's, to our mobile deposits, just to name a couple of many," he continued. "The transaction counts are dwindling in the branches so it made sense to consolidate our Ketchikan footprint and close the Shoreline location."

As far as the building, Ryland said he's not sure what will become of it at the present time.

"Right now, our number one priority is taking care of our customers and then of course making sure all of our team members are well taken care of," he explained. "Once we've done that, then we'll be exploring all options for the building, which could include the sale of the building, but at this point in time, we haven't quite gone down that path yet."

Even though the company is closing one of three branches in the Ketchikan area, Ryland predicts there will be no change in business.

"We still offer 11 convenient locations throughout all of Southeast Alaska, we have all of our virtual options available and our branch presence is still vital to our business plan," he told the Daily News.

"What tends to be the case in Southeast Alaska, based on my experience in both the Juneau and the Ketchikan markets, a lot of our customers tend to visit almost all of the branches in those communities," he added. "I know a lot of our customers visit the mall for a variety of reasons, so I don't foresee too much of a change there."

Customers who use the Shoreline branch for depositing money into their accounts can simply make the transition to another branch. For those that have a safe deposit box at the North Tongass location, Ryland urges them to begin the transition process as soon as they can.

"Customer accounts will not be impacted in any manner whatsoever, they can continue to bank with us as they have. We would just encourage all of our customers that have a safe deposit box at the Shoreline location, to be reaching out to Erin Avila, our branch manager there, and making sure that there's a smooth transition to our other branches that offer safe deposit boxes," he said.

Along with Wells Fargo customers, the company's employees at the Shoreline Branch will be seeing changes as well.

"All of our team members are going to be taken care of, they're all going to retain their current job titles, there's going to be no displacement whatsoever," Ryland said. "Every single team member is going to find a home."

Ryland explained the current Shoreline Branch manager, Erin Avila, is going to be the branch manager at the downtown Ketchikan location.

Additionally, he said another one of the company's employees, Tiffany Cook, the downtown Ketchikan branch manager, just "had a wonderful promotional opportunity to help manage the operations in Southeast Alaska."

Cook was promoted to regional services consultant for Southeast Alaska, which is "essentially a supervisory role for the bank's operations and risk management," according to David Kennedy, Alaska regional communications officer.

"Cook has been serving Wells Fargo customers in Ketchikan and Wrangell for 19 years," Kennedy said in an email to the Daily News. "She serves in the community as Ketchikan Volunteer Fire Department board chair, Holy Name School advisory board member and Rotary 2000 board member. She will continue to live and work in Ketchikan."

In essence, the employees at the Shoreline branch Wells Fargo who customers have come to know will not be far. The company will still operate its locations at 2415 Tongass Ave. and 409 Dock St.

The Tongass Branch lobby is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and the Ketchikan branch lobby is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Shoreline branch and drive-up will close for business at noon on Oct. 4.