In a surprising change of direction, New York Life Insurance Co. announced it will close two of its financial service-related subsidiaries by March if they cannot be sold.

New York Life has been trying to attract buyers for the Charlotte-based units, Aegis Technologies Inc. and PFA Financial Centers Inc., since July 1995. Aegis produces software and kiosks for consumer financial transactions. PFA markets such products for use in shopping malls and other busy areas.

The insurance company has apparently changed its mind since recent statements indicating it intended to keep the companies operating. Those statements followed newspaper reports that said New York Life intended to close the companies, which employ 125 people.

Jim Tolve, a New York Life spokesman, said it was acting to concentrate on its core businesses. He said that at the time of the earlier statement "we were still looking for a buyer." New York Life is still eager to sell, he added.

The companies will fulfill contracts with their bank customers, including Chemical Banking Corp., Banc One Corp., and BankAmerica Corp., Mr. Tolve said.

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