CoreStates Financial Corp. and Meridian Bancorp this week announced plans to close an administrative services center near Lancaster, Pa., the first consolidation move by the two banks since they revealed their merger plans last October.

The companies declined to estimate how many jobs would be lost at the 200-employee CoreStates facility in East Petersburg, six miles northeast of Lancaster.

CoreStates, which is based in Philadelphia, also said it would vacate some space at a building in downtown Lancaster in which about 50 of its employees work. The majority of functions from both facilities will be moved to Meridian's operations center in Spring Ridge, four miles west of that company's Reading headquarters.

"We are announcing these plans early so that we can let employees know as soon as possible how their work units will be affected," said Rosemarie B. Greco, president and chief executive of CoreStates Bank.

Ms. Greco said employees at the two sites were informed in meetings Tuesday of the planned consolidation. Most will be notified by the beginning of March of their individual status.

"This is an early alert that the facilities are going to close and that various functions will be moved," said CoreStates spokesman Gary Brooten.

When CoreStates and Meridian first announced their merger, they said they expected to lay off "less than 10%" of their combined staff of 19,127 and close or sell 115 of their 667 branches, producing $186 million a year in pretax cost savings.

No specific branch closings have yet been announced. The merger, which would create a company with $45 billion in total assets, is expected to close in the second quarter.

The consolidation of administrative facilities in Lancaster County is to begin during the second half, after the merger closes.

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