Citicorp layoffs could affect Md. branches

July 10, 1991|By Thomas Easton | Thomas Easton,New York Bureau of The Sun

NEW YORK -- Citicorp, the powerful but troubled New York-based international bank, could cut almost one-fifth of its // employees by the end of 1993 in a move that will spare the large Maryland credit card operation but could affect local branches.

The company has cut 7,000 jobs since the beginning of the year, and it may cut 10,000 more, mainly in middle management and support staff.

In Maryland, Citicorp employs 3,300 people in two units. Gene Oaksmith, community affairs director at the bank's Towson-based credit card business, said the layoffs "will not affect" his area, where 1,350 people are employed.

Citicorp's 15 Maryland branches are run out of Washington, and no official spokesman was available to comment.

A New York spokeswoman, Holly Cherico, said cutbacks at branches could not be ruled out.

Because Citicorp will continue hiring for some businesses, it is uncertain how the layoffs will affect overall staffing. At the end of last year, the bank reported a record 95,000 employees.

"We're trying to thin our management across businesses worldwide," Ms. Cherico said. "There are no [employment level] targets. We would like to serve our businesses as efficiently as possible."

Following revelations of increasing loan losses last December, Citicorp announced its intention to bolster profitability by reducing annual expenses by $1.5 billion, or about 15 percent, within two years.

The current job cuts have been portrayed to security analysts as part of the general reduction in expenses. But details have been meager, causing several analysts to suggest the impact of the cuts on the company's strategy and bottom line remained murky.

News of the job cuts was disclosed last week by bank Chief Executive John Reed in comments to summer interns and was confirmed yesterday by the bank.

Last month, Mr. Reed chose a similarly unusual platform to make a significant announcement, disclosing his goal of selling a 15 percent of Citicorp's credit card operations in an interview with a French newspaper.

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