SALT LAKE CITY - Zions Bancorp and First Security Corp. are expected to lay off more than 700 employees as a result of their proposed merger.A Zions official confirmed a report Thursday in The Salt Lake Tribune that the two Utah banking companies aim to reduce their combined 17,000-member work force by 10%. The banks have already reduced the number of employees by about 900 through attrition, due to a hiring freeze put in place when the merger was announced June 6.

The job cuts will be in the banks' administrative departments, such as accounting, information technology, and auditing, among others. Zions and First Security, which combined would have $40 billion of assets, received final regulatory approval for their merger Dec. 13 and had planned to close the deal at yearend. However, Dec. 28 stockholder meetings to vote on the deal were canceled after the Securities and Exchange Commission unexpectedly required Zions to restate its financial results for the past three years. The agency ruled that several acquisitions accounted for by Zions as poolings-of-interest must be restated as purchases.

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