Merger To Result In Layoffs

By Susan Morse

Hampton Union, Tuesday, August 24, 2004

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON - Customers of Fleet Bank will likely notice no changes at their bank until December, according to a spokeswoman for Bank of America Corp., which recently merged with Fleet's holding company.

Signs will change in the New England area in December, reflecting the name change to Bank of America, said spokeswoman Alison Gibbs.

"There will be no changes to accounts," Gibbs said. "In most cases, people can keep the same account number; they will be able to use Fleet checks."

Last week, Bank of America began renaming Fleet branches in upstate New York.

Bank of America Corp., merged with Boston-based FleetBoston Financial Corp., in April.

On Wednesday, it announced plans to lay off hundreds of tellers and other branch employees at Fleet banks.

Fleet has bank branches on Lafayette Road in Hampton; on Portsmouth Avenue in Exeter; and in Portsmouth.

Gibbs said she could give no specifics on which banks would be losing employees.

"I can tell you it's across the Fleet footprint," she said. "In some instances, we'll be adding staff."

Hampton manager Alyson Kelley said she could not comment.

Gibbs also declined to give the number being let go, though she said on Friday, "It's significantly less than the 1,500 the (Boston) Globe reported yesterday."

Employees who are laid off will be given 17 to 48 weeks of severance pay, she said.

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