PHILADELPHIA -- In a letter to employees Friday, top management at Corestates Financial Corp. announced a "corporatewide review and redesign process" that includes a hiring freeze.

The $23.6 billion-asset bank, which last month reorganized management and announced a plan to unify its banks under a single New Jersey charter, has called on the consulting firm Aston Limited Partners to study "activities that do not contribute value for customers."

Morgan Stanley analyst Dennis Shea, who said the bank's stock "hasn't done anything in five years " applauded the review. "Corestates needs to take some actions to get earnings going."

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