Wells Fargo & Co will by mid-May hire more than 1,000 people for its retail banking operations in the mid-Atlantic region, ahead of a planned fall rebranding of its Wachovia locations.

The staff will be hired at Wachovia locations in Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C., Wells Fargo said on Monday.

Wells Fargo has hired nearly 600 people for similar positions in the region since its purchase of Wachovia at the end of 2008.

The $12.5 billion acquisition more than doubled the size of Wells Fargo, which has the biggest retail branch network in the United States.

Wells Fargo is the nation's fourth-largest bank by assets, and according to its website employs about 280,000 people.

JPMorgan Chase & Co, the second-largest U.S. bank by assets, also plans to expand in retail banking. Last month, it said it plans to add at least 1,000 new branches in the next three years and could add up to 2,000 within five years. It said it would focus the growth in California and Florida.

Wells Fargo has $1.3 trillion in assets. Its shares were down 0.5 percent at $31.74 in early afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Clare Baldwin and Jonathan Stempel; and Andre Grenon)