Akron Bank Cuts 401(k) Match, Stock Purchase Program

An Akron, Ohio-based bank has become the latest employer to drop its 401(k) match to save money—in this case to better deal with the slumping economy.

A news report in the Akron Beacon Journal said FirstMerit Corp. told employees in a letter before Thanksgiving that the match will end as of January 1,when the company will also drop its employee stock purchase plan.

FirstMerit Chairman and CEO Paul G. Greig said in the employee letter, ”while FirstMerit has been performing well, we see a difficult economic environment ahead and are taking these steps to make sure that our company remains the strong company it is today,” according to the news report.

Bank spokesman Rob Townsend told the newspaper that FirstMerit is not in financial difficulty, but knows the economy is in trouble. ”We know that this isn’t going to end tomorrow. Just to make sure we remain strong, we’re doing these things,” said Townsend.

He declined to describe the details of the soon-to-be suspended 401(k) match or the employee stock purchase plan as well as the bank’s resulting savings.

The regional bank has 2,614 employees.