Assistant branch managers are becoming an endangered species.

Just weeks after Capital One Financial (COF) said it was cutting 500 assistant manager jobs at its branches, FirstMerit (FMER) in Akron, Ohio, announced this week that it would eliminate all assistant branch manager jobs as part of a broad cost-cutting initiative.

Speaking at the Barclays Americas Select Franchise Conference in London Tuesday, FirstMerit Chairman and Chief Executive Paul Greig said the company is closing eight branches in northeast Ohio and eliminating 338 jobs in an effort to trim its overhead by roughly $30 million a year.

Greig's comments were first reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Greig said that the cuts are in response to the more challenging operating environment stemming from increased regulation, restrictions on fee income and an overall decline in branch traffic. The company has turned a profit in 52 straight quarters and Greig said that the cost cuts will help it maintain its momentum.

The $14.7 billion-asset FirstMerit will shutter the eight branches in August as well as consolidate regional call centers and eliminate redundant regional manager posts, the Plain Dealer reported. With the exception of the assistant branch managers, all affected employees will be offered jobs at other FirstMerit branches.

FirstMerit has about 205 branches in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

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