Two years after completing big acquisitions in Virginia, Wachovia Corp. is still tweaking its operations there

Last week the Winston-Salem, N.C., banking company said it plans to sell 15 Virginia branches to F&M National Corp. of Winchester, Va. Only one bigger branch-sale plan has been announced so far this year. Wachovia, which has over 700 branches, also said it would sell four in North Carolina to Centura Banks of Rocky Mount, N.C.

In a press statement Thursday, the $69 billion-asset company said the Virginia sales would mark the end of a "refinement" period after the 1998 acquisitions of Central Fidelity Bank in Richmond and Jefferson Bankshares in Charlottesville.

Customer use of electronic banking services was also a motive behind the sales in both states, the company said.

"Initially we divested branches as required by regulators in markets in which the mergers created a dominant share and consolidated branches in close proximity," said James C. Cherry, chief executive officer of Wachovia's Virginia territory. "We have continued to make divestiture and consolidation decisions as we analyzed customer usage patterns, including the use of electronic banking services."

The Virginia sale would include $310 million of deposits.

F&M National Corp., with $3.2 billion of assets, has 128 branches, spread out across Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. Centura, with $11 billion of assets, has 250 branches, in the Carolinas and Virginia.

Wachovia said it would retain personal lines of credit, credit card, brokerage, trust, and installment loan accounts.

Terms were not disclosed. The sales require regulatory approval, but Wachovia said it expects to complete them in the third quarter.

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