To the Editor:

I am writing to take issue with part of a June 5 article ("First Union Finds Buying S&Ls Is a Thrifty Way to Expand," page 32). It mentions Crestar as a bank whose acquisitions have sparked negative sentiment because of branch closings and staff reductions.

There is no question that some of our thrift acquisitions have included branch consolidations and, in turn, job eliminations. But Crestar has been extremely sensitive to the impact of these kinds of decisions.

For example, when a merger is pending we typically freeze openings throughout the organization to give preference to employees of the thrift to be acquired. We also work hard to be straightforward and up-front in our communication to all affected constituencies.

As a result, contrary to the implication of your article, I think the record shows Crestar's acquisitions - perhaps unlike those of other banks - have generally taken place in a positive environment. Barry R. Koling Corporate communications director Crestar Financial Corp. Richmond, Va.

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