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Bank of America to Close 11 O.C. Branches

Finance: Customers' changing habits cited. Most affected employees are expected to be transferred to other jobs.

March 22, 1997|JAMES S. GRANELLI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bank of America said Friday that it will close 11 of its 93 Orange County branches in a second round of office closures aimed at adjusting to its customers' rapidly changing banking habits.

The state's biggest banking concern also is closing eight Los Angeles County branches and 14 offices in eight other counties.

B of A said in December it would close 120 of its 1,400 California branches this year as part of a global restructuring that will eliminate 3,700 jobs. At that time, it identified 30 branches that would be closed in four months.

The latest batch of targeted branches will close by the end of July, said bank spokeswoman Lisa Margolin-Feher.

But most of the branch employees who might otherwise face layoffs are expected to be transferred mainly to a new program that provides frequent customers with bank liaison officers, who will help with transactions, she said.

The financial relationship management program, as the bank calls its liaison plan, is gearing up with a staff that ultimately will reach about 1,100 employees, Margolin-Feher said.

The branches to be closed, she said, are typically within two miles of other offices. Though accounts will be transferred to the nearby offices, customers can have their accounts moved to different branches, she said.

"We've been seeing a big drop-off in the usage of our traditional bank branches," Margolin-Feher said. "Surveys show that 60% of our customers rarely or never use our branches."

The industry has seen customers moving more quickly to automated teller machines, computer banking, mini-bank and supermarket branches and direct deposit of payroll checks.

Bank of America, the main subsidiary of BankAmerica Corp. in San Francisco, also faces tough competition from Wells Fargo Bank, which has earned a reputation for using technology to simplify services.

The Orange County branches that B of A will close and the branches that will take over accounts from the closed offices are:

* Anaheim: 3301 Miraloma Ave. into 160 E. Yorba Linda Blvd., Placentia.

* Buena Park: 7855 La Palma Ave. into 6210 Beach Blvd.

* Fountain Valley: 17970 Magnolia St. into 17430 Brookhurst St.

* Huntington Beach: 21022 Beach Blvd. into 18691 Main St.

* Irvine: 4820 Irvine Blvd. into 14222 Culver Drive.

* La Habra: 200 S. Beach Blvd. into 200 E. La Habra Blvd.

* Lake Forest: 23082 Ridge Route Drive into 23831 El Toro Road.

* Mission Viejo: 24896 Chrisanta Drive into 26821 Trabuco Road.

* Orange: 345 E. Chapman Ave. into 941 N. Tustin Ave.

* San Clemente: 400 Camino de Estrella into 24801 Del Prado Ave., Dana Point.

* Stanton: 10450 Beach Blvd. into 1818 S. Euclid St., Anaheim.

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