Huntington Bancshares, Columbus, Ohio, plans to start offering on-line trading to its brokerage customers in December.

The service would be available to the roughly 60,000 customers who use Huntington Investment Co., the bank's full-service broker-dealer.

Investors will be able to trade stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, said Jordan A. Miller Jr., vice president and controller at the brokerage. Starting at a basic rate of $23.95 a trade, the price would rise depending on the volume of trades, he said.

Customers will also be able to check account balances, look at financial news, and use on-line calculators and retirement planning charts, said Mr. Miller.

He said he expects that roughly 15% of Huntington's brokerage customers will trade on-line, with many more using the service to check their accounts.

Adding on-line trading will broaden the Web services that Huntington already offers to its retail banking customers, said Rob Comfort, senior managing director at the brokerage operation. Services to bank customers include automatic bill payment and fund transfers.

Customers trading securities on-line will be able to log on to the bank's main Web site at and reach the securities page by hitting a hot button.

Mr. Comfort said the decision to offer the service does not reflect a desire to go head to head with firms like E-Trade Group, the Palo Alto, Calif., deep discount brokerage firm.

"We are a full service firm and would rather help our customers put together a long-term investment plan," he said. "There are a number of people out there who wanted to trade securities on-line and we were trying to accommodate them."

Separately, Mr. Comfort said Huntington Investment Co. ex-pects to take its share of the 1,000 planned layoffs the banking company announced in October but won't be disproportionately affected.

Huntington said the layoffs, which would amount to 10% of the $27 billion-asset banking company's work force, are part of an effort to improve its efficiency ratio and returns. The bank also intends to close 34 bank branches and sell five.

Mr. Comfort said that the brokerage has "a few back-office" vacancies that would not be filled. He did not specify how many positions were involved. He also said he would take a look at "a few" brokers whose sales production is not up to snuff.

The bank-which operates in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Michigan, and Florida-has 55 series 7 licensed brokers and 800 series 6 platform brokers in the branches.

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