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FIRST UNION ANNOUNCES PROPOSED PLAN TO CONSOLIDATE BRANCHES OF DOMINION, FIRST AMERICAN BANKS; EXPAND ELSEWHERE IN D.C. AREA

 WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- First Union National Bank today announced a preliminary plan to consolidate the Washington-area branches of four financial institutions that First Union recently acquired -- First American Metro Corp., Dominion Bankshares, Meritor Savings Bank, and Sailors and Merchants Bank and Trust.
 At the same time, First Union said it plans to expand aggressively throughout the greater Washington area by adding branches where none now exist.
 Already, First Union is scouting possible locations for new branch offices.
 "Many areas of Virginia, Maryland and Washington remain under-served in terms of banking services, and represent excellent potential locations for First Union branches," said Hugh Long, First Union's capital-area president.
 Regarding the near-term consolidation proposal, First Union said it is considering the closure of between 65 and 70 branches in the greater metro area by mid-December. First Union currently operates 184 D.C.-area branches.
 The 65 to 70 branches under consideration for closure include 11 inside the District, where First Union currently operates 41 branches.
 First Union will open two new branches in economically disadvantaged areas of the city -- one in Anacostia, the other in an undetermined location.
 Outside the District, in suburban Virginia and Maryland, First Union will consider closing between 54 and 59 of the 143 branches it operates in those areas.
 "We're strong, but we believe we can become even stronger," Long said. "We're reshaping four acquired banks into a single, streamlined institution, ready for expansion in the future."
 The four acquired banks competed with each other prior to their acquisition by First Union, resulting in numerous situations in which a branch of one of the institutions is located directly across the street from the branch of another, such as a First American branch across from a Dominion branch.
 "In order to serve customers efficiently, it's important to consolidate branches, eliminate as much overlap as possible, and bolster the already strong operations of the most efficient branches," Long said.
 "Our internal studies have identified the most effective, most productive branches -- those that will form the core of First Union's operations in the greater Washington area. Each of these branches meets First Union's standards for location, size and growth potential," he said.
 A final decision on the branch closures is expected Aug. 24, when the bank's board of directors votes on the proposed plan.
 First Union will notify customers, in writing, prior to the closure of any branch. In most cases, customers' accounts and safe deposit boxes will be transferred to another nearby First Union branch without changing account numbers or other documents.
 First Union will offer jobs in the metropolitan region to all tellers and customer service representatives affected by the Washington-area branch closures.
 Some may be offered positions at consolidated branches, where staff expansion might be necessary to accommodate customers from closed branches, Long said.
 -0- 8/3/93
 /CONTACT: (Media) David Scanzoni of First Union Corporation, 704-383-7742/
 (FTU)


CO: First Union Corporation ST: District of Columbia, North Carolina IN: FIN SU:

MM -- CH007 -- 9032 08/03/93 16:02 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 3, 1993
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