AMCORE Financial Cuts Retirement Contributions, Freezes Wages

March 18, 2009 ( - AMCORE Financial has notified its nearly 1,300 workers that it is freezing the wages of both hourly and salaried employees.

The Rockford (Illinois) Register Star reports that AMCORE also eliminated a 3% cash contribution to retirement plans of all employees, but is continuing to match 401(k) contributions up to a maximum of 4%.

According to the news report, AMCORE CEO Bill McManaman said in a memo to employees that 2008 “was the most difficult in AMCORE’s history, and unfortunately, this difficult economy doesn’t seem to be turning around. As a result, each aspect of how we run our business is under scrutiny, including how we manage our expenses.”

McManaman said the company plans to restore merit increases as soon as the economy and the firm’s performance allows.

The salary and benefit changes were announced three days after AMCORE detailed about $1.2 million in retention bonuses to its top five executives. AMCORE officials defended the bonuses as necessary to retain an executive team that was mostly brought in over the past three years.