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Bank tags branches to shut

NationsBank Corp. has decided which branches will go as it closes 46 of its 195 Tampa Bay area banking centers to trim the cost of buying Barnett Banks Inc.

A list of the branches that will be closed this fall, which has not yet been formally announced, shows that Hillsborough County will lose 21 branches, keeping 38, while Pinellas will lose 15, keeping 68.

Pasco County will lose six branches, keeping 30, while Hernando County will lose three branches, keeping seven. Citrus County loses one branch, keeping six others.

Statewide, NationsBank plans to cut 200 branches.

NationsBank still will have the most branches in the area and the state after the closings. But it is frustrating news for customers like Stacey Chinchilla, 27, who banks at the NationsBank branch at 4705 N Armenia in Tampa, which is set to close.

"It's going to be a pain," she said, because the branch is just a few blocks from where she lives. Now she'll have to drive an extra mile or two to the next closest branch to make deposits. "I don't like what they're doing, but I'm stuck with them," she said.

Her employer, Pizza Hut, has a direct deposit agreement with NationsBank. And besides, she doesn't want to change her checks.

The remaining Barnett branches will change over to NationsBank on Oct. 8 and 9, eliminating the remnants of Florida's last big bank. NationsBank bought Barnett in September for $15-billion, a price that created the imperative to cut 200 branches from the two banks' ranks.

Commercial real estate firms will receive the catalog of locations to be sold next Wednesday, said Jerri Franz, spokeswoman for NationsBank in Jacksonville. Competing banks are likely bidders in the auction for the properties.

For employees at doomed branches, the news is better than it sounds, said Leo Hill, market president of NationsBank in Pinellas County. All managers, bank tellers and consumer bankers are guaranteed jobs in surviving branches in the NationsBank network, and often will be going across the street to their new branch, he said. In 13 planned closings, the branch that closes will have its accounts transferred to another branch a mile or less away, he said.

Attrition _ typically about 20 percent a year in the banking business at branch locations _ plus account growth will allow most employees the chance to remain with NationsBank, though the bank has said it is cutting 6,000 positions as part of the merger. Analysts, however, think it will take thousands more cuts to make the deal profitable.

The fate of Barnett's automated teller machines and grocery store branches in Publix supermarkets _ along with NationsBank's similar operations in Winn-Dixie supermarkets _ hasn't been decided, Franz said.

NationsBank rated branches on factors including size, access, ability to expand and parking to pick the ones to go, but Hill said a branch's financial performance wasn't one of those criteria. Customer accounts at closed locations will be serviced from designated "receiving" branches though customers can access their money at any branch or ATM. Customers will be notified by mail about the branch changes.

In the final tally around Tampa Bay, NationsBank sold 56 Barnett branches to Ohio-based Huntington Bancshares, sold 60 Barnett branches to SouthTrust Corp., and will shut 17 Barnett locations and 29 NationsBank centers.

Still, the remaining 149 branches are a formidable banking presence, Hill said.

"I can say with confidence that none of what our competitors have comes as close to being as convenient," Hill said. "If I were competing against us, I'd be afraid."

Trimming the branches

NationsBank plans to close 46 locations in a five-county area of the Suncoast.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

NationsBank 8809 W Waters Ave. Tampa

NationsBank 15518 N Dale Mabry Highway Carrollwood

NationsBank 10821 N Dale Mabry Highway Carrollwood

NationsBank 4705 N Armenia Ave. West Tampa

NationsBank 1920 E Hillsborough Ave. Tampa

NationsBank 400 N Ashley Drive Tampa

NationsBank 300 N Franklin St. Tampa

NationsBank 10101 Bloomingdale Ave. Riverview

NationsBank 901 W Dr. M.L. King Jr. Blvd. Seffner

NationsBank 404 Oakfield Drive Brandon

NationsBank 3880 Sun City Center Blvd. Sun City Center

NationsBank 1010 E Bloomingdale Ave. Valrico

NationsBank 2401 Jim Redman Parkway Plant City

NationsBank 5252 E Fowler Ave. Tampa

Barnett Bank 8706 W Hillsborough Ave. Town 'N Country

Barnett Bank 15001 N Florida Ave. Tampa

Barnett Bank 15302 Amberly Drive Tampa Palms

Barnett Bank 13866 N Dale Mabry Highway Carrollwood

Barnett Bank 12098 Anderson Road Tampa

Barnett Bank 10904 N 56th St. Temple Terrace

Barnett Bank 4600 W Cypress St. Tampa

PINELLAS COUNTY

NationsBank 1240 N Missouri Ave. Largo

Barnett Bank 13075 Walsingham Road Largo

Barnett Bank 201 150th Ave. Madeira Beach

NationsBank 4321 Duhme Road Madeira Beach

NationsBank 9103 U.S. 19 N Pinellas Park

NationsBank 153 Treasure Island Causeway Treasure Island

NationsBank 3739 Fourth St. N St. Petersburg

Barnett Bank 6100 Fourth St. N St. Petersburg

Barnett Bank 301 38th Ave. N St. Petersburg

NationsBank 405 Central Ave. St. Petersburg

Barnett Bank 33715 U.S. 19 N Palm Harbor

NationsBank 3450 East Lake Road East Lake

NationsBank 3029 Enterprise Road Clearwater

NationsBank 23684 U.S. 19 N Clearwater

NationsBank 140 Island Way Clearwater

PASCO COUNTY

NationsBank 7115 Ridge Road Port Richey

Barnett Bank 6121 S.R. 54 Elfers

NationsBank 4714 Mile Stretch Holiday

Barnett Bank 12510 S.R. 301 Dade City

Barnett Bank 37215 S.R. 54 Zephyrhills

NationsBank 9005 S.R. 54 Bayonet Point

HERNANDO COUNTY

NationsBank 1000 S Broad St. Brooksville

Barnett Bank 1300 Pinehurst Road Spring Hill

NationsBank 4177 Mariner Blvd. Spring Hill

CITRUS COUNTY

Barnett Bank 2709 E S.R. 44 Inverness

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