IRVING, Tex. - Citigroup Inc. said it plans to expand operations of credit card issuer Associates First Capital Corp. once it has closed its $31.1 billion acquisition of the company.

Associates spokesman David Sandor said Citigroup issued a memo to Associates employees on Friday indicating its plan to expand the credit card group, which has 2,200 employees.

Mr. Sandor said that though the size of the expansion was not specified, the announcement showed Citi's confidence in Associates' card business, which emphasizes private-label cards for gasoline retailers. Citigroup's selection of the Irving center - 20 minutes from downtown Dallas - as the corporation's "expansion site," he said, would mean more support for the large call center there as well as the technology departments.

The memo also indicated that commercial finance operations headquarters for the combined companies would be in Irving. "It's significant that both Citi's and Associates' commercial finance businesses will be led by an Associates executive," said Mr. Sandor.

Citigroup also gave reassurances that despite layoffs at the company management level no major reductions were planned in business unit operations.

"The only job impact we expect is in corporate staff positions," said Mr. Sandor.

These layoffs include 500 jobs by January and 1,600 more throughout next year. Mr. Sandor added, however, that Associates employees had been warned of staff reductions since the deal was announced.

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