A Wells Fargo branch recently opened in Isla Vista, becoming the first bank office to enter the area since rioting protestors burned the I.V. Bank of America branch to the ground in 1970.
The new Wells Fargo office opened Oct. 1 and is located on Pardall Road next to the existing ATMs. According to Michael Vidal, a Wells Fargo business banking specialist for the I.V. branch, the office operates in conjunction with the Goleta Wells Fargo branch.
Domenic Di Noto, a customer service and sales representative at the Goleta branch, said his branch decided to expand into Isla Vista in order to provide more complete services to Isla Vista residents.
“We want to give this community more local access to banking,” Di Noto said. “Not everyone has access to a car.”
Despite being the first bank in 30 years in I.V., Vidal said he does not anticipate that the I.V. Wells Fargo branch will face problems of destruction like the Bank of America did in the 1970s.
“Vandalism in I.V. is always a possibility, but we’re not afraid about someone going after a bank,” Vidal said. “Problems like that could face any business.”
Vidal said the office currently provides customers with services such as free checking for up to five years, free online banking and a free first box of checks. A minimum $100 is required to open a deposit account, but no minimum balance must be kept thereafter, he said.
The office does not yet offer all of the services offered by the Goleta branch, such as teller service or direct access to accounts, Vidal said. He said he is currently the only permanent employee at the branch, but additional employees can be called into the I.V. office from the Goleta branch if needed.
Due to the absence of tellers, Vidal said, direct withdrawal and deposit service is not available.
“We will take the checks people give us and do the deposits for them,” Vidal said. “They can pick up receipts the next day.”
Vidal said business is good thus far, and he said he is hopeful Wells Fargo will be able to provide customers with full-service banking in the next year.
“It’s the first bank since the ’70s, so we’re trying to see if we can get enough business,” Vidal said. “Then we’ll open up a full-service branch.”