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APPROVAL OF INTERSTATE BRANCH BANKING COULD SPARK GREATER ECONOMIC ACTIVITY ACROSS THE COUNTRY, SAYS NATIONSBANK CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

 WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 24 ~PRNewswire~ -- Interstate bank branching could free as much as $100 billion in lendable funds to spark greater economic activity across the country, the chief executive officer of NationsBank (NYSE: NB) said here today.
 "Multi-state banks would save $5 billion to $10 billion a year if they could simply merge their multiple state banks, now required by regulation, into one bank," said Hugh McColl, citing U.S. Treasury Department figures. "That could create $50 to $100 billion in newly available credit for small and large businesses, consumers and all other bank customers."
 McColl was keynote speaker for the Greater Washington Board of Trade annual meeting, attended by more than 1,000 business, government and community leaders.
 McColl noted that at least half those attending were with small- and medium-sized businesses, which he said the United States will continue to rely on to spark greater economic activity. While large corporations enjoy a number of capital-raising options, he added, small businesses usually turn to banks.
 McColl praised the Washington-Baltimore corridor as the nation's most powerful market in buying power, with disposable income of more than $39,000 per household. NationsBank lending in the area is as active as in any of the nine states where the bank operates, he said.
 "If our company has a bias, it is a bias for doing business, whether it is helping an individual make the right personal financial choices, or enabling a business to meet its expansion plans," he said.
 That philosophy was shaped in the 1960s and 1970s when NationsBank predecessor NCNB was growing out of the shadows of two other large banks in North Carolina -- Wachovia and First Union. NCNB had to find ways to make loans and cultivate business, McColl said, adding that all three banks have succeeded because they were seasoned in the stiff statewide competition that the Tar Heel state's banking laws allowed.
 "Our nation would be better off if we had nationwide banking laws allowing banks everywhere to grow as North Carolina banks grew," McColl said. "Isn't it a bit ironic," he asked, "that current banking regulations allow our country's largest retailers, car makers and telecommunications companies to operate nationwide banks, but not our banks?
 "It should not be lost on us -- or on the White House or on Capitol Hill -- that our major trade competitors, specifically, Japan and Germany, have instituted nationwide banking and, in turn, have the financial muscle to foster their export sales and sustain their domestic economies.
 "We must allow our banking industry to grow and prosper," McColl said. "We must update regulations left virtually untouched since the FDR administration. We must allow market forces to work -- for the soundness of the banking industry and for the good of the country, its taxpayers and its businesses."
 McColl said NationsBank is fully behind President-Elect Clinton's efforts to reinvigorate the national economy. "I believe he (Clinton) will be successful," McColl said. "And we at NationsBank intend to be part of the solution."
 NationsBank Corporation is the country's fourth largest banking company with $118 billion in assets and full-service banks in nine states and the District of Columbia.
 -0- 11~24~92
 ~CONACT: Ellison Clary, NationsBank Corporation, 704-386-8633~
 (NB)


CO: NationsBank Corporation ST: North Carolina IN: FIN SU: PDT

13:25 -- CH006 -- 1109 11~24~92 13:43 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 24, 1992
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