Comerica Inc., which has been behind schedule on its promise to eliminate as many as 2,000 jobs following its 1991 merger with Manufacturers National Bank, has begun wielding the ax with authority.

In the past two months, 180 employees -- 70% of them executive officers -- have received layoff notices from the Detroit-based bank, the first companywide since the merger 19 months ago. Some of those laid off had titles as high as executive vice president.

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