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Crestar to cut 400 at Citizens Firings follow Va. bank's purchase of Laurel company; 200 others may lose work; 26 branches to close; moves aim to save $52 million a year


Crestar Financial Corp. will fire more than 400 Citizens Bancorp employees by mid-March, when the companies fully integrate their operations, a company spokesman said yesterday.

About 410 Citizens employees have been told by Crestar officials that they will no longer have jobs with the company. Another 200 employees could lose jobs as Crestar settles more firmly on its staffing plans, said Barry R. Koling, a spokesman for Crestar.

Crestar will also close 26 of Citizens' 103 branches.

"The vast majority of Citizens employees know where they stand, and most of them stand with a job offer," Koling said.

Richmond, Va.-based Crestar has $22.9 billion in assets and operates 503 banking locations in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. It acquired the Laurel-based Citizens Dec. 31, 1996, for $775 million, a year after Crestar snapped up Baltimore-based Loyola Capital Corp.

Citizens, which had $4.2 billion in assets, employed 1,900 before the merger. Koling said 100 left the company on their own shortly after the deal was announced.

The employees who will lose their jobs are middle managers, secretaries, data processors and accountants. But "customer contact people" -- tellers, account representatives and loan officers -- will keep their positions, Koling said.

He said the bank is offering severance and outplacement services to people who will lose their jobs, but he declined to give specifics.

Koling said the 200 employees who might lose their jobs would know shortly, but he didn't have an exact date. Some of them have been offered other jobs with the company, he said. "We are working as hard as we can to eliminate it [uncertainty] as quickly as we can," Koling said. "Some have been told that their jobs would be eliminated, and we are continuing to make job offers every day."

David West, an analyst with Davenport & Co., a Richmond-based brokerage firm, said the cuts did not sound excessive.

"There is some overlap" between the banks, he said.

Crestar expects to spend as much as $55 million on the merger, but it expects to save $52 million a year in lower overhead costs through staff cutbacks and consolidations.

Crestar cut about 260 employees from Loyola Capital Corp., which represented about 40 percent of its work force.

By mid-March, all Citizens' customer accounts will be converted to Crestar accounts, and branch signs will bear the Crestar name, Koling said.

Pub Date: 2/04/97

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