SAN FRANCISCO - Answering the biggest question about their planned merger, Union Bank and the Bank of California said Thursday that the deal should save $90 million annually by 1998, or about 9% of anticipated noninterest expenses this year.

The banks say they expect to realize $10 million of the savings next year and $60 million in 1997. They also said they expect to cut 8.5% of the combined roster of 9,900 full-time jobs, mostly through attrition.

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