Signaling continued merger-integration woes, First Union Corp. Wednesday acknowledged it plans to shutter nearly half the offices of its recently acquired home equity lending unit, Money Store, eliminating 285 jobs.

A First Union spokesman said 32 of the 71 offices of the Sacramento, Calif., unit, which the banking company acquired in a controversial deal last year, would be closed. Loan processing operations at all of its branches would be consolidated at its headquarters and at an office in Pennington, N.J. At least 16 of the branches will be closed within the next 60 days and the remaining ones by the end of March, the spokesman said. The closings were first reported in the Orlando Sentinel.

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