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    Banking On Tesco's Fresh & Easy

    Wachovia to be exclusive ATM provider for Tesco's new neighborhood market chain.

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Wachovia Bank will be the exclusive ATM provider to Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market when the company's first U.S. stores debut in Southern California, Las Vegas and Phoenix this fall, according to the financial institution.

    The partnership between Wachovia and Tesco brings together two companies with an emerging presence in California, an ongoing commitment to the state and other western locales, and a strong reputation for easy-to-use and efficient customer service.

    "When considering ATM providers in the U.S., Wachovia stood out as a logical and natural partner since both companies strive to be good neighbors and employers, and to provide the absolute best customer service," Tim Mason, CEO of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets, said in a statement. "We are confident that consumers will be as receptive to Wachovia as they will be to our fresh, high-quality foods."

    Wachovia plans to build approximately 40 to 50 branches a year over the next five years in California, and said this commitment to the market makes Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market a natural partner. "We couldn't be more pleased to offer state-of-the-art ATMs in Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market as another convenient service we provide for our West Coast customers," said Gary Bargeron, senior vice president and manager of Wachovia's National ATM Program.

    "We believe the combination of our top-ranked commitment to customer convenience and satisfaction and Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's concept of convenient, fresh and environmentally-friendly products is going to be a big winner in our Western markets," he continued.

    The companies also are a natural fit in another area -- environmental stewardship. Wachovia recently announced a "green" financial center design in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. The company will begin opening its green financial centers in Southern California later this year, and by the end of 2008, all new Wachovia branches will be built using LEED standards.

    Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is equally committed to the environment. "Fresh & Easy believes part of being a good neighbor is being a responsible steward of the environment," said Simon Uwins, Fresh & Easy chief marketing officer. "Underscoring that commitment, we will install an innovative 500,000-square-foot solar roof at our distribution center, at a cost of $13 million. We believe it will be the largest roof-mounted solar installation in California and possibly, the world. In addition to our solar roof, we will minimize waste by recycling or reusing all our shipping material. Our freezer cabinets will use LED rather than florescent lighting, saving 50 percent, and we have modified our fridges to cut energy use by 10 percent."

    Tesco is the UK's largest retailer and one of the world's leading international retailers, operating more than 2,800 stores in 12 countries and employing more than 370,000 people.

    Wachovia has 3,400 retail financial centers in 21 states from Connecticut to Florida and west to Texas and California, as well as nationwide retail brokerage, mortgage lending and auto finance businesses.

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