NationsBank Corp. said last week that it will cut more than 6,000 jobs as it completes its merger with Barnett Banks Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla.
The disclosure was the first in which Charlotte, N.C.-based NationsBank has attached a specific job-loss number to the acquisition, which is scheduled to close Friday.
Previously, officials did not discuss how many jobs would have to be cut to achieve the deal's cost-reduction target of 55%.
NationsBank spokesman Scott Scredon said the company is now expecting to eliminate 6,000 jobs and possibly a bit more.
"This is the number," said Mr. Scredon, referring to a report last Wednesday in the Charlotte Observer. In total, NationsBank and Barnett employ about 28,000 in Florida.
Analysts are still skeptical, saying that more than 6,000 people would have to be displaced for NationsBank to achieve the $915 million of anticipated annual cost savings.
"They are trying to put a very kind spin on it because (they) don't want negative publicity in Florida," said John Coffey, an analyst at Robinson- Humphrey Co. "This is probably a floor and not a ceiling. I think the number will be significantly higher than 6,000 when all is said and done."
The likely impact of the job cuts in Florida is unclear because NationsBank will not discuss where or how the cuts will be made. For instance, Mr. Scredon said he could not say how many-if any-of the 6,000 cuts are related to the divestiture of 128 branches and $4.1 billion of deposits in Florida.
NationsBank has said it will keep about 1,000 of the roughly 4,000 technology-related employees at Barnett. In addition, the company said it will keep all of the 1,650 workers at Barnett's three customer-service call centers and at NationsBank's one Florida call center.
The North Carolina company has also assured 6,300 tellers that they will keep their jobs or be given new ones in their markets if they perform as expected. The company has made similar promises to about 400 relationship managers in various business units.
It has not yet said how many branches it will close.
Though bank officials did not give a specific number, they said many job cuts would come through attrition rather than layoffs. NationsBank and Barnett began a hiring freeze in late August when the merger was announced.
"About 4,000 people a year leave Barnett through attrition," said Jerri Franz, a company spokeswoman. She said the annual attrition rate at the two companies is about 20%.