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Attrition May Account for Job Cuts

April 15, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Attrition probably will account for many of the 6,000 to 8,000 jobs that will be eliminated by the proposed $62.5 billion merger of BankAmerica Corp. and NationsBank, the companies top executives said.

During a visit to downtown Bank of America offices on Tuesday, BankAmerica chairman and CEO David A. Coulter and NationsBank chairman Hugh McColl said that both companies have high employee turnover rates _ a factor that will reduce the number of layoffs.

``If we freeze hiring we open up opportunities for everybody,″ Coulter, who would become president of the new entity, told a collection of reporters and about 100 employees during a short news conference.

Neither executive would say where the job eliminations will occur, but they noted that the banks have overlapping credit card and mortgage lending operations. They said they did not expect a large number of branch closures.

Afterwards, McColl and Coulter spent about 15 minutes shaking hands and talking informally with branch employees and customers.

San Francisco-based BankAmerica, parent of Bank of America, and Charlotte, N.C.-based NationsBank announced on Monday that they would combine to form the nation’s first coast-to-coast bank.

The new company, which would keep the BankAmerica name but have its headquarters in Charlotte, would have about 180,000 employees and offices in 22 states.

San Francisco would become the company’s corporate banking headquarters, with an emphasis on developing business in Asia, Coulter said. As a result, few jobs will be lost there, he said.

``Despite what’s been happening in Asia, I am still a long-term optimist about the Pacific Century,″ he said, referring to the financial crisis in Southeast Asia and Japan’s decade-long recession. ``So, I think net-net, we’re going to add jobs.″

Because branch operations overlap in only two states _ Texas and Nevada _ the companies don’t expect opposition from regulators, Coulter said.

Inside the downtown branch, news of the merger did not deter Debbie Blackwell of Huntington Beach, from opening a new account. She decided to leave her old bank because Bank of America offered more services, she said.

``Actually, I think this is going to be better,″ she said.

Dora Ferenczy, a financial services officer who has been with the bank for 22 years, said the merger would be good for customers and employees alike.

``It’s going to be a great opportunity for clients. It will be good for the employees. I feel confident with it,″ she said.

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