NationsBank Corp. said it plans to close about 200 branches, or 20 percent of its Florida network, as part of its $15.1 billion Barnett Banks Inc. acquisition.
NationsBank will have 950 Florida branches after the closures and previously announced sales of 124 branches. Chief Executive Hugh McColl Jr. first spoke of the latest closures in interviews last week with two Florida newspapers.The cuts come as NationsBank, based in Charlotte, seeks ways to slash 55 percent to 60 percent of Barnett's expenses. Previously Rusty Rainey, a NationsBank official in charge of integrating operations in Florida, said the bank would cut about 6,000 jobs, or 20 percent of the total in the state.
To be sure, NationsBank must cut carefully as local and out-of-state rivals ramp up efforts to pick off any disgruntled Barnett customers and employees. Earlier this month, Union Planters Corp. of Memphis, Tennessee, hired Adolfo Henriques, chairman of NationsBank South Florida, Dow Jones reported Monday.
NationsBank also plans to add 60 to 80 supermarket branches this year, expanding on Barnett's 40 stores inside Publix Super Markets and NationsBank's 80 branches inside Winn-Dixie Stores.\ - Bloomberg Business News