American banking giant Wells Fargo is planning to close approximately 900 branch offices by 2020 in a bid to slash operational costs and offset soaring legal expenses.

The bank’s booked a $3.25bn fourth quarter pre-tax charge related to the misselling scandal including mortgage-related regulatory investigations, sales practices, and other consumer-related matters.

Despite receiving $3.4bn boost from the US corporate tax cut, the lender is planning to save $4bn per annum by the end of 2019 through a branch closure programme, rationalising call centre and operational capacity, besides third party expense savings.

Under the branch closure programme, nearly 250 branches will be shut down this year.  Upon closure of 900 branches by 2020, Wells will have around 5000 offices.

Wells Fargo reported a profit of $6.15bn, or $1.16 per diluted common share, for fourth quarter 2017, an increase of 17% compared with $5.3bn, or $0.96 per share, a year ago.

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