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First M&F closing offices, cutting 11 percent of staff

KOSCIUSKO — First M&F Corporation’s subsidiary, Merchants and Farmers Bank, has launched Project McKinley, a comprehensive strategic performance initiative including a branch consolidation plan that will result in the reduction or sale of six branches.

The move comes as M&F seeks to improve efficiencies in preparation for navigating through current uncertain economic times and future growth opportunities.

Hugh Potts Jr., chairman and CEO, said, “Our intent is to focus our best in fewer locations to achieve higher levels of performance and efficiency.”

The branch consolidations will be accompanied by commensurate staff adjustments throughout the remaining branch network and administration and operations.

The company expects to record charges in the third and fourth quarters to reflect the costs of McKinley.

Potts said, “Overall staffing will be reduced by 11 percent with cost savings of approximately $4 million on an annualized basis. Affected associates may apply for transfers or openings in the future. Overhead savings will be significant.”

The closures will be the Wilsonville, Ala. branch; Ridgeland Highway 51 branch; Oxford West branch; Tupelo Northside branch; and, Jackson branch.

The Niceville, Fla., branch is being sold to First Florida Bank located in Destin, Fla. Terms were not disclosed.

All closures and the one sale are expected to be completed by the end of the fourth quarter after appropriate customer and regulatory notices.

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