NationsBank Corp. said Wednesday that it would retain all 1,060 workers at call centers operated by Barnett Banks Inc. in Florida after the two companies merge in the first quarter.

Charlotte, N.C.-based NationsBank said it would also keep all 600 of its own call center workers in Florida.

The $242 billion-asset NationsBank said it would likely add 200 call center workers in Florida over the next several months.

Because both NationsBank and Jacksonville, Fla.-based Barnett have extensive Florida operations, the merger is expected to lead to large-scale divestitures and layoffs. But the phone centers will not be affected, bank officials said.

Currently, Barnett has three call centers in Florida that will handle about 63 million calls this year. NationsBank's center in Tampa will handle about 22 million calls this year. Next year the combined operations are expected to handle about 95 million calls, a 12% increase.

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