As the business week ended Friday, financial firms in or near the World Trade Center continued to supply information about missing employees and branch operations.

Judy Hitchen, a spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, said Friday morning that approximately 19 people out of 3,700 staff members from the World Trade Center buildings remained unaccounted for. This was an improvement from late Thursday, when the company said 40 staff members were still missing. Its figure for the number of employees who worked in the lower Manhattan complex increased, meanwhile, by 200 from earlier company reports.

Late Thursday, Bank of America Corp. chairman and chief executive officer Ken Lewis said the company was still unable to contact eight of its employees who worked in the World Trade Center.

“More than 400 of our associates who worked in the World Trade Center are accounted for and safe, and we confirmed yesterday that all of our associates who work in the Pentagon escaped the attack unharmed,” he said.

On Friday, Wachovia Corp., which like B of A is based in Charlotte, N.C., was still tracking down employees who worked in its offices on the 47th floor of World Trade Center’s tower 1.

Of the 48 employees who worked in the offices “there are still four that we have been unable to account for,” spokeswoman Mary Eshet told American Banker at midday. The offices provided operational support for the capital management business of First Union Corp., which bought the old Wachovia Corp. on Sept. 1 and took its name.

Meanwhile, Buffalo-based HSBC Bank, a unit of London’s HSBC Holdings PLC, said it had reopened 12 of its 19 previously shuttered branches after the lower Manhattan area between 14th Street and Canal Street was reopened to business Friday. Spokeswoman Pamela Plehn said that the bank would waive fees ordinarily charged when one of its customers in the New York City area uses another bank’s ATM, and that it would reimburse fees charged by non-HSBC banks.

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