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JENKINTOWN, PA-American Realty Capital II LLC has picked up 100-plus surplus bank branches from Wachovia Bank NA for more than $100 million. A multi-year transaction, the portfolio is trading hands in two tranches, with the first set of branches expected to transfer to American Realty Capital in this summer.

This is the largest transaction American Realty Capital has executed in this particular fund, which has been open since 2007, according to Nicholas Schorsch, CEO of American Realty Capital. “This is the exactly the type of transaction for which we created American Realty,” he tells GlobeSt.com. American Realty Capital acquires surplus bank branches that are empty and repositions them for other banks or other businesses, such as a Starbucks or Enterprise Rental Car or tax assistance center, to name a few examples. Sometimes, Schorsch adds, parcels are bought for land assemblage and the buildings torn down. American Realty Capital also acquires bank branches as part of a sale-leaseback transaction for a bank, allowing the bank to stay in the location.

The Wachovia deal falls in the former category, he explains. “All of these branches are empty. This sale is part of an ongoing process at Wachovia to streamline and rationalize its branch network.” In other words, he says, it has nothing to do with the credit crunch. Wachovia continuously builds new branches and consolidates or refurbishes old branches, John Saclarides, SVP and transaction executive for Wachovia Corporate Real Estate, explains. “The dollars we save by better managing our distribution network can be reinvested into more and better products, services and locations for our customers.”

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