Magazine article American Banker

Fleet Boosts Its Estimate of Savings from Natwest Deal

Magazine article American Banker

Fleet Boosts Its Estimate of Savings from Natwest Deal

Article excerpt

Fleet Financial Group executives have raised by 25% their initial estimates of annual savings from the upcoming merger with National Westminister Bank's U.S. unit.

Jay Sarles, vice chairman of Fleet Financial and chairman of its New York banking unit, said in an interview last week that Fleet hopes to cut at least $250 million in annual operating costs from the combined operation, instead of the originally predicted $200 million.

Mr. Sarles and John Tugwell, chief executive of National Westminster Bancorp, said the bulk of the cost savings will probably come from the processing side.

Fleet and National Westminster are reviewing how to integrate the operations, they said.

"Cost savings will clearly come out of the back office, even if the integration takes some time to achieve," Mr. Sarles said.

Further savings will come from closing some 30 branches, mainly on Long Island.

In all, 1,800 jobs are to be eliminated, partly at Natwest and partly at Fleet.

The cuts would be distributed across the New York metropolitan region but would fall most heavily on Long Island. Half of the reductions would come from attrition, the executives said.

The two banks are scheduled to merge May 1.

Fleet closed another acquisition, with Hartford, Conn.-based Shawmut National Corp., late last year. Mr. Sarles said Fleet doesn't expect to complete its integration with Shawmut until the end of the summer.

He said the integration of Natwest into Fleet will not be mapped out until this fall, and the job won't be finished until June 1997. …

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