FIRST FIDELITY BANCORP IS prettying itself up. The bank announced on Jan. 18 that it is laying off 1,000 employees and shutting down several dozen branches. The Newark (N.J.) bank may be simply cutting costs, following the lead of many others in the industry. Or it may be slimming down for an eventual sale. A source at the bank says NationsBank took a look at First Fidelity's books last summer; two other major banks have since done the same. None of the banks would comment.

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