Two state boards are expected to give final approval this morning to a $10 MILLION state loan for a $175 MILLION Wells Fargo expansion in the Des Moines area. Iowa Department of Economic Development director Michael Blouin says the money will be given as a loan, but it won’t have to be repaid if Wells Fargo follows through on its promise to create two-thousand new jobs in Iowa. Blouin says the $10 MILLION will be part of an overall package of about $50 MILLION in incentives for the company from the state, local governments and from community colleges which will help train the workers. Blouin believes Iowa beat out South Carolina, Illinois, Texas and Arizona for the project. It’s the first award from the state’s new economic development fund, which will have about $50 MILLION left to hand out over the next two years. Blouin says $175 MILLION projects that create two-thousand jobs “don’t drop out of the air very often.” Blouin says it’s a “grand slam, and you’ve gotta have one of those once in a while to make the singles and doubles look pretty good.” Blouin expects Wells Fargo to consolidate its 3300 Des Moines-area mortgage and financial services employees in one facility. He says the plans he’s seen call for Wells Fargo to erect a new building in a Des Moines suburb, and build a new facility in downtown Des Moines next to its financial center there. Blouin says Wells Fargo wants to break ground on the project by year’s end and start hiring as soon as possible. Blouin says Wells Fargo’s national and international market share is growing by huge percentages, and the company’s strategy is to continue to expand services regardless of what happens with interest rates. A second phase of the Wells Fargo project is a $130 MILLION expansion in four years, and Blouin expects that would be in central Iowa, too.
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