First American Corp. said Monday that it expects operating results for the first quarter and the full year to fall short of analysts' forecasts, citing customer attrition and higher expenses.

The $20.7 billion-asset bank, which made the announcement after the market closed, said first-quarter results would fall below Wall Street's consensus estimate of 71 cents a share and 1999 operating earnings would fall below the estimate of $2.99 a share.

Earnings from operations are expected to grow 4% to 7% in the first quarter and 5% to 7% over the full year.

In a statement, First American chairman and chief executive officer Dennis C. Bottorff said the bank had "unanticipated client attrition with resulting balance declines" and "higher expenses in client service areas."

Mr. Bottorff said the bank, which last year acquired Deposit Guaranty Corp. in Jackson, Miss., had "service quality issues" in areas outside Deposit Guaranty's market base. Support staff added to address the problems led to higher expenses for the first quarter that should continue into the second quarter, he said.

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