Wachovia Corp.'s plans for integrating two pending Virginia acquisitions started shaping up last week, when the company announced 837 job cuts.
Operations personnel and information systems workers at the two target banks, Richmond-based Central Fidelity Banks and Charlottesville-based Jefferson Bankshares, got letters about the elimination of their jobs last week.
Some workers are being offered jobs within Wachovia, the company said. For example, employees will be able to apply for 125 jobs being created at a new check services center in Charlottesville.
"Everybody was notified of their status in the locations they were in," said Frank D. Robb, executive vice president of Wachovia Operational Services Corp. "Over time, depending on their qualifications, it will be determined who will be given jobs."
Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Wachovia announced in June that it had reached deals to acquire both $10.6 billion-asset Central Fidelity and $2.1 billion-asset Jefferson, which together employ about 5,150. Wachovia expects to reap about $97 million in savings from the deals.
Thousands of employees working in Jefferson and Central Fidelity branches have yet to be told of their status. Wachovia expects to disclose branch divestiture plans and further job cuts to affected employees within the next month, said spokesman Paul Mason.
Of the 837 employees notified so far of layoffs, 624 work for Central Fidelity and 213 for Jefferson, according to officials at the companies.
Softening the blow is that Wachovia is creating new jobs, which could absorb some of those displaced workers, said Mr. Robb.
The jobs at the consolidated check services center in Charlottesville are but one element of these job creation plans, he said.
Jefferson Bankshares was building a 113,000-square-foot operations center in Charlottesville when it agreed to be sold to Wachovia. Now the facility is slated to house Wachovia's Virginia check services and will process about 11 million items a month.
In another job-creating move, Wachovia cut a deal with Milwaukee-based M&I Data Services to hire 82 Central Fidelity information systems employees in Lynchburg, Va.
M&I, a Central Fidelity vendor, will initially use those workers to maintain Central Fidelity information systems until the conversion with Wachovia is complete. Then it will reassign those employees to handle other M&I clients, said Owen J. Sullivan, president of the M&I division that will oversee the Lynchburg operation.
Another 168 information systems workers employed by Central Fidelity and Jefferson have been offered jobs in an expanding information systems department in Winston-Salem. Wachovia has given the workers until Oct. 15 to accept or refuse those jobs, Mr. Robb said. Wachovia expects fewer than half the workers to accept relocation, however.
Kati Plonski, a spokeswoman for Jefferson, said the changes are unsettling to some people but that Wachovia's openness and willingness to create jobs was welcome. "They've given people fair notice. They aren't being sneaky," she said. "We've all been told that nobody will lose jobs until after March of next year, so they've given people seven months' notice at least."