Firings over, First Union will hire more than 2,000

No. 6 bank realized it had too few tellers to serve customers well

July 20, 1999|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- First Union Corp., after firing 5,850 employees to cut costs, will hire more than 2,000 tellers, after the sixth-largest U.S. bank realized that its branch staff wasn't adequately serving customers.

First Union spokeswoman Allison Rash said the bank has been short by about 1,000 tellers for several months. The bank decided last week it needed to hire another 1,000.

There is an extremely high turnover rate among tellers, she said.

In March, First Union said it was firing 5,850 people, or 7 percent of its work force, to offset higher spending on businesses including capital markets, capital management and retail delivery. Of that number, fewer than 2 percent worked in branches, Rash said.

Most of the eliminated positions were in data processing and administration.

First Union is looking to fill the teller slots as quickly as possible, Rash said. The bank does not yet have an estimate of how much the additional recruiting will cost and it hasn't determined exactly where the new tellers will work. The bank now has 11,900 tellers of about 72,000 employees.

After reducing its profit forecast twice this year, First Union last week reported that its second-quarter profit from operations fell 9.3 percent as a decline in equity investments and residential mortgage fees offset gains in asset management.

First Union shares fell 93.75 cents to $47.4375 yesterday.

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