NBA gearing up for changes

Posted: Thursday, April 06, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Wells Fargo officials say they're hoping to avoid layoffs when the company takes over National Bank of Alaska.

But the company says up to 75 employees of NBA may be offered jobs in the Lower 48 or moved to different jobs in Alaska.

''They have said to a few people, 'Would you want to live in Minneapolis if you had the chance?' '' Jerry Weaver, NBA's senior vice president of commercial loans, told the Anchorage Daily News. ''There are some real career opportunities floating out there.''

Minneapolis is the headquarters of Norwest Inc., the banking company that merged with Wells Fargo in 1998 and adopted its name to become the nation's seventh-largest bank.

Last December, Wells Fargo announced plans to buy NBA, Alaska's largest and oldest bank, in a deal expected to be worth more than $905 million.

The sale is slated to close in June, pending stockholder and regulatory approval.

In the halls of NBA's headquarters, morale seems high as bank employees learn more about Wells Fargo, Weaver said.

Ultimately, however, some of NBA's roughly 1,250 employees would lose their jobs if the deal goes through.

Officials at both banks aren't sure how many positions they would cut but did say Wells Fargo is looking to trim jobs in NBA's purchasing and legal departments.

About four employees in purchasing were recently notified that their positions would probably be eliminated, said NBA spokeswoman Elaine Junge.

But Wells Fargo's ''retain and retrain'' program should keep layoffs down, offering employees new career opportunities, both in Alaska and in other states, said Wells Fargo spokesman Tom Unger.

''When we merge with another company, the goal isn't to reduce jobs, it's to retain customers,'' Unger said.

NBA and Wells Fargo plan this month to start combining some of their subsidiaries under one roof. But the companies will operate independently until the takeover is completed.

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