Centura Banks Inc. has gone the route of branch closings and staff reductions as it fought to control costs after the merger that created it in 1990, but it has also invested heavily in the "Centura Highway," its phone banking service.

As part of an effort to expand its remote banking system, Centura, which is based in Rocky Mount, N.C., has hired Mark B. Gamble away from American Express Co. to head up management of the Centura Highway. He had been director of credit operations for American Express in Jacksonville, Fla.

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