SunTrust Banks Inc., the seventh-largest U.S. bank, on Monday said it expects to eliminate about 2,400 jobs by the end of 2008 as part of a plan designed to save $530 million annually by 2009.
The job cuts are equal to about 7 percent of SunTrust's workforce as of the end of 2006.
Atlanta-based SunTrust said most of the job losses will involve employees who do not deal directly with customers. The cuts follow a several months-long review of ways to streamline back office and support operations, and reduce layers of management.
The bank expects to incur a $45 million pretax third-quarter charge to cover costs of the program. It did not immediately return a call seeking further comment.
Chief Executive James Wells, who took his job in January, is trying to make SunTrust more efficient after the bank tripled in size under predecessor L. Phillip Humann.
SunTrust instituted a hiring freeze, agreed to sell and lease back roughly 475 offices and branches, and in May sold 4.5 million shares of Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co, or 9 percent of its stake. It retained 43.7 million shares in the world's largest soft drink maker, which it helped take public in 1919.
SunTrust ended June with $180.3 billion of assets, and operates about 1,685 branches in 11 U.S. states, mostly in the Southeast, and Washington, D.C.
Shares of SunTrust closed Friday at $80.50 on the New York Stock Exchange. They have fallen 5 percent this year, compared with a 6 percent drop in the Philadelphia KBW Bank Index
(.BKX: Quote, Profile, Research).
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel)