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RICE ANNOUNCES BARNETT'S MISSION AT ANNUAL MEETING

 JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Charles E. Rice, chairman and chief executive officer of Barnett Banks, Inc. (NYSE: BBI) told shareholders today that the company's mission is to "create value for owners, customers and employees as a highly profitable, independent financial services organization operating in markets where Barnett has a leadership position."
 Speaking at the company's annual meeting of shareholders, Rice said at the heart of this strategy is maintaining a focus on Florida and other markets where, like Florida, Barnett is a market leader. He defined leader as being among the top three competitors.
 "This strategy was illustrated recently by the announcement to sell our Atlanta franchise to Bank South in exchange for purchasing their Pensacola franchise, thus leveraging our position in that market," he explained. This will make Barnett the banking leader in Pensacola.
 He added that the company's focus on Florida and nearby Georgia doesn't mean Barnett will never expand into other states. "We will concentrate on leveraging our existing network while considering acquisitions that would complement that position in contiguous geographic areas or by adding valuable sources of non-interest income."
 Rice reiterated the company's five goals for the decade:
 --uild a fortress bank.
 "As credit quality improves, our number-one priority has shifted to productivity," said Rice. Non-performing assets decreased by 23 percent to $843 million during 1992 and were further reduced in the first quarter of this year to $785 million. "Our goal is to reduce expenses to 60 cents per $1 in revenue by 1995. We made a good start in the first quarter by cutting our overhead ratio to 67.5 percent," he explained.
 At the meeting, shareholders voted to reelect five directors to the board for a three-year term. They are:
 -- James Broadhead, chairman and chief executive officer of FPL
 Group, Inc., from Juno Beach.
 -- Armando Codina, founder and chairman of The Codina Bush Group
 Inc., from Coral Gables.
 -- Tom Rankin, chairman, president and chief executive officer
 of Lykes Brothers, Inc. in Tampa.
 -- Fred Schultz, owner of Schultz Investments in Jacksonville and
 former vice chairman of the board of governors of the Federal
 Reserve System.
 -- John Williams, chairman of Post Properties, Inc., from Atlanta.
 With $38 billion in assets and 635 offices in Florida and Georgia, Barnett Banks, Inc. is the leading financial institution in Florida and the 18th-largest in the United States. The company's stock (BBI) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
 -0- 4/21/93
 /CONTACT: Bob Stickler (media), 904-791-5437, or home, 904-396-9284, or Helen Rowan (analysts), 904-791-7627, or home, 904-272-6915, both of Barnett Banks, Inc./
 (BBI)


CO: Barnett Banks, Inc. ST: Florida IN: FIN SU:

JB-SS -- FL006 -- 8662 04/21/93 11:07 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 21, 1993
Words:446
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