updated 8/18/2004 7:52:33 AM ET 2004-08-18T11:52:33

Bank of America Corp. plans to lay off hundreds of tellers and other branch employees at Fleet banks on Wednesday as a result of its merger with FleetBoston Financial Corp., according to a published report.

The job cuts will affect nearly every community in which Boston-based Fleet operates, the Boston Globe reported in Wednesday's editions, citing interviews and documents it obtained. One branch manager who spoke on condition of anonymity told the newspaper that about one worker per branch — or about 1,500 total — would likely be laid off.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, which acquired Fleet in the spring, is converting Fleet's 1,500 branches to its own model, which uses fewer full-time staff members per branch.

Bank of America also plans to transfer some employees, and to reduce hours of some staff members.

Bank of America, after completing its $48 billion acquisition of Fleet, temporarily maintained the Fleet name in the Northeast as it began integrating the two companies.

This week, Bank of America began renaming Fleet branches in upstate New York before moving on to other parts of the Fleet territory over the next few months.

"As we roll out the model, there will be some job reductions in some centers, but there will also be increases in other centers," Bank of America spokeswoman Eloise Hale said, declining to provide specific numbers.

Bank of America earlier had announced it would cut 12,500 jobs as part of the merger, but it was expected that the Fleet employees wouldn't be affected. Fleet had about 47,000 employees before the merger.

In a July 14 conference call with analysts following the merger, chief financial officer Marc Oken said Bank of America expects cost savings from the merger to total as much as $750 million by year's end.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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