Commercial Federal Corp. of Omaha plans to sell or close 22 of its 258 branches by year's end and eliminate 129 jobs in two loan offices.

The $13.1 billion-asset thrift company said in a Nov. 15 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it expects to take a pretax charge of $3 million to $4 million in the fourth quarter.

The company has not disclosed how much it expects to save in annual operating costs after the cutbacks. Larry R. Goddard, Commercial Federal's director of investor relations, said the company plans to make a formal announcement by yearend that will detail the financial benefits.

Mr. Goddard said the thrift company decided to restructure after assessing seven bank acquisitions it completed in the past two-and-a-half years.

"There was some consolidation during the acquisitions, but we continued to look at what we had and where we could streamline our operations," Mr. Goddard said. He said the company wants to sell branches that are too close to other Commercial Federal locations, lie outside the company's core markets, or are in smaller communities.

The layoffs will occur at loan offices in Wichita, Kan., and Denver, both of which are being closed. Commercial Federal plans to move all loan-servicing work to Omaha. -- Craig Woker

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