Wachovia’s Employees Get Back To Work Caring For One Another, Customers And The Community
October 28, 2005, JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Wachovia continues to make headway caring for employees, customers and the community in Florida’s Hurricane Wilma-damaged areas.
Leaders in the Gulf Coast region on the east coast and Palm Beach, Treasure Coast, Broward and Miami-Dade/Monroe on the west coast have located nearly all employees, despite difficulties with telephones and transportation.
“I am very proud of all of our employees in the storm-damaged regions of our state,” said Robert W. Helms, Wachovia’s state CEO. “Our leaders and business continuity managers have worked around the clock to make sure our employees are safe and have the supplies they need, and that our financial center network is open and ready to serve our customers.”
With most employees safe, Wachovia has gone to work—and that’s good news for customers. Wachovia has opened a growing number of financial centers in the damaged regions, with more coming on line almost hourly.
As of Thursday morning, the Gulf Coast had opened 93 of its 101 centers, followed by Miami-Dade/Monroe with 35 of 70, Broward with 18 of 84, Palm Beach with 14 of 103 and the Treasure Coast with 20 of 22. Power outages prevented the company from opening more locations.
“As soon as we open a center, the word spreads,” said Jorge Gonzalez, regional president for Broward County. “We’re getting a lot of traffic. Customers really appreciate that we’re up and running.”
Besides getting cash and conducting other business, customers can take advantage of Wachovia’s special hurricane relief programs, or even make a donation to the American Red Cross for hurricane relief to help others less fortunate, at any open center.
Leaders said communication plans, strong execution and dedicated employees allowed them to get back in business ahead of most competitors.
“We have very strong discipline in the area of communications,” said Kent Ellert, Gulf Coast regional president. “Because of that communication effort, we were able to locate all of our employees by Tuesday morning. That’s critically important, because it allows us to provide supplies to employees who are suffering and then get back in business.”
Ellert added, “Because of our communication plan, we were able to open seven offices on Tuesday in Collier County, our hardest hit county on the Gulf Coast. That was well ahead of the competition. By Wednesday, we had 83 of our 91 offices open.”
The Gulf Coast region also was able to open up in the Immokalee area, an agricultural area heavily populated by migrant workers. When leaders saw the damage in the area, they provided a $2,500 donation to Anonymous Angels, a food bank in the area.
Palm Beach Regional President Gary Klein said Wachovia’s support of employees has been incredible. On a company level, Wachovia has sent truck loads of supplies into all damaged regions. Supplies include food kits, baby kits, fresh water, ice, tarps, chain saws, batteries and other goods.
And locally, employees have gone to great efforts to help teammates. “Employees have pitched in to help out unloading our trucks filled with ice, water and food,” Klein said. “Financial specialists and service leaders took it upon themselves to deliver disaster supplies to the staffs of the nine offices we were able to open by Wednesday, even though they, like most of our employees, had some form of damage to their own homes.”
Power outages have been the greatest problem. But once the power is back up, Wachovia teams have made sure centers could open up with the proper number of staff.
“Broward probably received the brunt of the storm, and most of our county is still without electricity,” Gonzalez said. “We’re doing all we can to get our centers open. We’ve installed at least five generators and have more coming. Our employees are just chomping at the bit to open up. It’s amazing how much they’ve pulled together and supported one another and our community. This just shows how lucky we are to have great employees at Wachovia.”
“Our job is to make sure that every financial center without damage can open the very second power is restored,” Klein said. “Our retail leader team, headed by Ed Bishop and Eli Marks, responded to the gas shortage by renting 10 automobiles to help our team accomplish visual inspections of financial centers, pick up work in centers that we are unable to open for business and to locate the remaining unaccounted for employees to ensure they are safe.”
Klein added, “Our leader team has taken on the challenge of being the bank that is the most responsive to customers and employees in Palm Beach County. We have defined that objective as getting our offices opened and getting our employees the supplies they need to get through this difficult period.”
Said Ellert, “I am overwhelmed with pride for the teamwork displayed by Wachovia employees in my region, the state and our company. Our employees are helping one another and giving great support to customers and communities in less than ideal circumstances. That’s just what we do every day of the year, but especially in times of crisis.”
About Wachovia Corporation
Wachovia Corporation (NYSE:WB) is one of the largest providers of financial services to retail, brokerage and corporate customers, with banking operations from Connecticut to Florida and west to Texas, and retail brokerage operations nationwide. Wachovia had assets of $532.4 billion, market capitalization of $73.9 billion and stockholders’ equity of $46.8 billion at September 30, 2005. Its four core businesses, the General Bank, Capital Management, Wealth Management, and the Corporate and Investment Bank, serve 13 million household and business relationships primarily through 3,138 offices in 15 states and Washington, D.C. Its full-service retail brokerage firm, Wachovia Securities, LLC, also serves clients through 702 offices in 49 states and five Latin American countries. The Corporate and Investment Bank serves clients in selected industries nationwide. Global services are offered through 40 offices around the world. Online banking and brokerage products and services also are available through Wachovia.com.
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