Wachovia has begun preliminary talks with Citigroup about a potential merger, people briefed on the matter said Friday.
Feelers have also been extended between Wachovia and Wells Fargo and Spain’s Banco Santander, these people said.
These talks are early, however, and no deal may emerge from them, these people said.
Wachovia , the big bank headquartered in Charlotte, has been under increasing pressure in recent weeks amid the turmoil gripping the banking sector. It took additional fire on Friday after JPMorgan Chase acquired virtually all of Washington Mutual, until Thursday evening the nation’s largest savings and loan, in a government-brokered sale.
A Wachovia spokeswoman declined to comment.
If a deal were to happen, Citigroup would gain one of the sterling names in retail banking. Wachovia would give the banking giant a heightened presence along the Eastern seaboard, and Citi would also gain Wachovia’s retail banking management team, considered one of the strongest in the business.