It's not that Crutchfield needed an extra $1.8 million a year, after tax, plus generous use of the company plane and a bunch of other perks. His basic retirement package would allow him to live more than comfortably for the rest of his life. The gift will cost the bank at least $4 million a year.

Yet, in a Nov. 30 memo, First Union told its employees that it planned to save $377 million a year by not providing employees with cash advances for travel purposes, by forcing many of them to take red-eye flights instead of flying first class, and by cutting back on the internal use of color copies.

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