Coronavirus Forces Wells Fargo to Shut Down Branches Author: Jimmy Aki Last Updated: 18 March 2020 Wells Fargo, a top commercial and investment banking institution in the United States, is feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as the firm recently announced the closure of two branches. As the Charlotte Business Journal reported earlier today, the San Francisco-based bank has contacted the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to notify it of plans to close down two bank branches across the state of North Carolina, as widespread panic over the global pandemic has hurt its traffic and caused it to lose business. The Bank Has Suffered Shuttered Operations Maegan Lewis, a spokeswoman at the notoriously anti-crypto bank, explained that the bank didn’t take those decisions lightly, but had seen no other way out as situations over the global pandemic continue to be dire. While the bank hasn’t confirmed it, there’s the likelihood that the pandemic could have affected its headquarters as well. California, the bank’s home state, already placed a ban on gatherings of over 250 people, calling on more people to work from home and prioritize their safety as they work to hopefully find a vaccine or some other lasting solution to the issue. This means the banks would see a significant reduction in both staff and customers – an issue which a lot of its counterparts will also most likely be dealing with as time goes on. Time to Embrace Blockchain? The bank’s decision to do so is coming at a time when Charlotte – one of the cities where a soon-to-be-closed branch is located – has been slammed with COVID-19-influenced losses. Last week, the Charlotte Observer reported that large corporations in the popular city have lost a total of $267 billion in market value as coronavirus fears rocked the stock market and triggered a massive selloff. As the news source confirmed, the total market capitalization of the 19 biggest public companies in Charlotte – which include Honeywell, Nucor, the Bank of America, and, most likely, Wells Fargo too – has slumped by 28 percent from the February 29 close, combining with the beginning of the equity markets’ slump. The figure, however, also includes Charlotte-based public corporations that are on the Fortune 1000, or which have over 100,000 workers in the region. As the markets saw another rough day yesterday, it’s expected that the market cap of these firms would have sold lower than the $690 reported by the Observer at the time. Given that no vaccine for the virus appears to be in sight, it’s expected that the markets will continue to struggle for the next few weeks. With more regions going under lockdown and declaring a state of emergency, it might finally be the best time for these banks and companies to find a way to incorporate blockchain and crypto into their infrastructure. Wells Fargo might be anti-crypto, but it seems to be pro-blockchain. Last September, the firm announced in a release that it would be launching a blockchain-based cross-border settlement service this year. As explained, the internal tool will help perform book transfers of international payments within its global network, through the use of ‘digitized cash.” At the time, the bank confirmed that it had successfully tested the concept of transfers between the United States and Canada.