Cutting more than most observers expected, Integra Financial Corp. said it would eliminate 1,500 positions, or 29% of its total staff, as a result of its merger with National City Corp., Cleveland.

Pittsburgh-based Integra hopes to get half its total merger-related savings from the job cuts, which total $42.5 million. The cuts will be made in the next six to eight months, said Integra president and chief operating officer Leonard M. Carroll.

"The big job loss will be in the back office and support function," he said in an interview Wednesday. "Executive management will also get hit."

Of the four people in Integra's office of the chairman, three will not survive the merger, including chairman and chief executive William F. Roemer, 62, who announced his retirement when the merger became public in August. He will remain as chairman of National City's new Pennsylvania bank in a non-management role.

Vice chairman John R. Echement, 60, will also retire when the deal closes in the second quarter of 1996. Vice chairman and treasurer Charles R. Skillington, 49, will serve in a non-management capacity as well, as vice chairman of the new Pennsylvania subsidiary.

Only Mr. Carroll, 52, won an active role with $35 billion-asset National City, as a Cleveland-based vice chairman in charge of retail banking.

Many of the lower-level jobs slated for elimination will be cut through attrition, Mr. Carroll said. But banking analysts doubted that a streamlining of this size could be handled by normal staff turnover.

"It's not realistic to expect attrition to take care of 30% of your staff - I think pink slips will be handed out," said Michael P. Durante of McDonald & Co. Investments.

Mr. Durante also questioned the wisdom of such large staff cuts. "I think in most of these mergers, the bank's don't recognize the impact of job cuts on revenue. This is nearly one in every three people. If there is a disappointment in this merger, it's likely to be on the revenue side."

Mr. Carroll said that Integra, which has $14.6 billion in assets, will try to make sure that displaced staff can apply for other jobs in the merged bank. However, most of those jobs will be in Ohio.

Integra will close its collections center, which employs 100 people, and move its consumer loan operations from Pennsylvania to Ohio. That move will affect 90 staffers.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.