KNOXVILLE, TN (News Sentinel) -- First Tennessee Bank plans to reduce its workforce by about 4 percent through 2013 including a handful of middle-manager buyouts announced on Thursday.The Memphis-based bank operates statewide and some of the job reductions will occur in Knoxville.

First Tennessee, which employs 4,500, expects about 10 percent of the 400 employees offered severance deals will accept the buyout packages. About 160 other positions that open when employees retire or leave the bank will be left vacant, a process known as attrition.

"This is an ongoing process of First Tennessee that reflects the pressure we're under to reduce expenses,"' John Daniel, the bank's chief human resources officer, said on Thursday. "Just look at the industry. We're all under the same pressure with interest rates where they are.''

Bank officials sent the email Thursday offering severance deals by Oct. 31 to 400 employees, many selected in part for long tenure. Severance would equal six months to one year of salary, depending on the number of years worked at the bank, Daniel said. Most earn $75,000 to $100,000 per year, working in operations such as finance, human resources and risk management.

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