Fourth Financial To Cut 250 Jobs

WICHITA, Kan. - Fourth Financial Corp., parent of the Bank IV chain in Kansas, said it will reduce its work force by about 250 full-time positions, or 11% of the total, in the next six months.

The $4.5 billion-asset banking company, the largest in Kansas, said it would make the cuts by offering early retirement to 200 people at least 55 years old, as well as through attrition and lay-offs stemming from consolidation of operations.

Fourth Financial saw its staffing and noninterest expenses soar with recent acquisitions of banks and thrifts. Expenses rose 26% in 1990, to $123.9 million, and 27% in the first half of 1991, to $70.6 million.

Earnings were up almost tenfold in the second quarter, to $6.1 million, or 32 cents a share, from $636,000, or 3 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

The employee total was up 22% in 1990, to 2,181 at yearend.

"We are committed to making the tough decisions that will allow Fourth Financial to continue the superior performance it has enjoyed in the past," said chairman Darrell Knudson.

He said it is time to take advantage of the efficiencies that 26 acquisitions since 1985 afford the company.

Holding company operations and all 13 Bank IV subsidiaries will be affected by the reductions, which will result in a $4 million charge against third-quarter earnings. Fourth Financial said half of an anticipated $15 million cut in expenses will come from the staffing reduction.

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