NEW YORK -- Bank of New York Co. will lay off "substantially" fewer people than the 500 to 700 that it originally estimated when it announced the purchase of New Jersey's National Community Banks.

A Bank of New York spokesman said the company will still attain its projected cost savings of $40 million from the merger in the first year after the acquisition.

Reduction of 25% Seen

He declined to specify the new size of the layoffs. But one source said it could be about 25% lower than the original estimate, or 375 to 525 jobs.

Some layoff notices were handed out last week to National Community employees.

The Bank of New York spokesman said that Bank of New York does not yet have a final number for how many people will lose their jobs in the merger.

He said that the company will experience the same cost savings despite laying off fewer employees because of unforced resignations and retirements at National Community.

Job Openings by Attrition

As jobs open up due to natural attrition, Bank of New York is filling them with people who otherwise might have been laid off, he said.

The merger, which awaits approval from the New York State Banking Department, is likely to be completed in the third quarter.

Shareholders of National Community will receive 0.96 shares of Bank of New York common stock for each of their common shares.

At the time the merger was announced in January, the value of the deal was $650 million.

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