Synovus Financial Corp. plans to slash its dividend by 65% and cuts its work force by 9% to save capital and cut costs.

The $34 billion-asset Columbus, Ga., company said Wednesday that it will eliminate 650 jobs over the next year as part of its so-called Project Optimus efficiency program. Synovus first unveiled the initiative in April but until today had not provided any details or targets. The company said it will record a $21 million in restructuring charge tied to the effort, $15 million of which is expected this year.

More than half the job cuts should come from leaving unfilled positions vacant and most will involve back office and support roles, the company said. The company implemented a hiring freeze when it started planning for Project Optimus.

The overall goal is to cut annual expenses by $50 million this year and the next while also generating $25 million in new revenue.

In announcing a plan to cut the dividend to 6 cents a share, Richard Anthony, the company’s chairman and chief executive, said the decision was tied to "the duration of the credit cycle and uncertainties around when economic conditions will improve." He also said that stress in the company's loan portfolio is likely to persist through "at least" next year with net chargeoffs remaining at 1% of total loans.

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