Susquehanna Bancshares Inc. in Lititz, Pa., is planning to eliminate nearly 350 jobs in Pennsylvania and Maryland, according to notices it filed with labor departments in both states this month.

The $14.3 billion-asset company said it began laying off workers in Pennsylvania on Dec. 8 and that, in all, it expects to eliminate as many as 309 jobs in 85 locations in the state. In Maryland, it told state officials last week that it could lay off as many as 35 workers in 17 locations, starting in mid-February.

Susquehanna did not give a reason why it was shedding jobs and calls to the company Wednesday were not immediately returned. But in an interview with the Baltimore Sun Tuesday, Susquehanna spokesman Stephen Trapnell explained that the Maryland layoffs are a result of a decision to consolidate branches after Susquehanna completes its acquisition of the $2.5 billion-asset Tower Bancorp Inc. in Harrisburg, Pa. He added, however, that the company is encouraging affected workers to apply for open positions in other markets.

The largest bank based in Pennsylvania, Susquehanna announced it was buying Tower, the parent of Graystone Tower Bank, in June for $343 million. Branch closures are expected because the companies operate in many of the same markets, but it is unclear at this point which branches would be shuttered.

Susquehanna also recently acquired the $1.2 billion-asset Abington Bancorp Inc. in Jenkintown, Pa.

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