Amsouth Bancorp in Birmingham, Ala., said it will slash 1,400 jobs and close 24 branches in Tennessee in connection with its proposed $6.3 billion acquisition of First American Corp.

The cuts total 10% of the banks' combined work force and would come mostly in First American's back office operations in its Nashville headquarters. Amsouth said 160 jobs will be eliminated immediately.

Branch closings are targeted for overlapping markets in Chattanooga, Nashville, and surrounding suburbs.

The cuts were announced Tuesday in Amsouth's second-quarter earnings report. Profits for the $20.6 billion-asset bank rose 13.4%, to $74.2 million or 42 cents a share.

Net interest income rose 8.2%, to $188 million on strong loan growth and an expansion in the bank's net interest margin, to 4.09% from 3.91% the same period last year. Fee income fell 18.7%, to $88.1 million because of one-time gains in last year's second quarter. Excluding those gains, fee income rose 9.6%.

Amsouth said it could close the First American deal - its biggest ever - as early as Oct. 1, pending regulatory approval.

The acquisition would double Amsouth's size and create one of the Southeast's largest banks, with $42 billion of assets and 680 branches in nine states.

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