WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wachovia Corp. plans to lay off 245 employees in the next 12 months as it closes its check processing center in Raleigh, N.C.

A spokesman confirmed that the Winston-Salem banking company will shut down the Raleigh facility and shift its work to more advanced operations centers in Charlotte, N.C., Atlanta, and Columbia, S.C.

The job cuts come soon after Wachovia warned of lower-than-expected earnings for the second quarter and full year as the result of rising nonperforming loans and persistent pressure on loan profits because of rising interest rates.

The processing activities are being relocated to centers equipped with imaging technology, which lets bank employees pull up stored images of checks and other documents and averts the need for the staff to work where the paper is generated.

The company said it will give some of the laid-off employees the chance to join other operations centers if they are willing to move.

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