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 MONROE, N.C., Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- First Union Corporation (NYSE: FTU FTUpr) has entered in to an agreement to acquire American Bancshares, Inc., the parent corporation of American Commercial Savings Bank, Inc., SSB. Based in Monroe, American Commercial had $243 million in assets as of Sept. 30, 1993.
 This will mark First Union's first entry into Union County, where five of American Commercial's 12 offices are located; its other seven are in Mecklenburg County. American Commercial will be First Union's first North Carolina merger partner in eight years.
 "We're excited about entering this attractive new market and becoming an integral part of this community," said Malcolm E. "Mac" Everett III, president of First Union National Bank of North Carolina. "This will strengthen our franchise in a high-growth area where we've wanted to be for a long time, and it will be a nice complement to our existing 250-branch network throughout the state. It's also good news for the many First Union customers already in Union County whom we'll be able to serve more conveniently."
 Russell W. Pope, president and chief executive officer of American Bancshares, said "Our primary concern was to act in the best interest of our shareholders, customers and employees. We were particularly interested in First Union because of its community-minded spirit and its merger expertise."
 American Commercial had $189 million in loans and $216 million in deposits, as of Sept. 30, 1993. The agreement provides for the issuance of 0.211 shares of First Union Corporation common stock for each of the approximately 2.3 million shares of American Bancshares common stock, subject to adjustment under certain circumstances. The transaction, which will be accounted for as a pooling of interests, is expected to close in the first half of 1994, subject to American Bancshares stockholder approval, regulatory approval and other closing conditions. Shortly thereafter, First Union signs will go up after systems are converted.
 "Our extensive merger experience should make this a seamless transition for customers," Everett said. "We look forward to combining our two organizations and believe that customers will be pleased with the expanded products and services we offer."
 Among those First Union products that are currently unavailable to American Commercial customers is a full array of investment alternatives, including mutual funds, annuities, brokerage services and insurance Products.
 In connection with the execution of the agreement, First Union was granted an option to purchase up to 443,700 shares of American Bancshares common stock, under certain conditions, at a price per share of $7.50.
 Pope announced that on Nov. 8, American Commercial Savings Bank entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the North Carolina Savings Administrator. Such a memorandum is an informal agreement between a financial institution and its regulators that is designed to implement and monitor remedies to perceived deficiencies in certain aspects of the institution's operations.
 "The timing of the memorandum and our proposed transaction with First Union is purely a matter of coincidence," Pope said. "We are confident that every perceived deficiency can be remedied within the time frame set in the memorandum." It is anticipated that the memorandum should not affect First Union after the transaction is completed, Pope added.
 First Union National Bank of North Carolina, which had $20.6 billion in assets at Sept. 30, 1993, has the top market share among all financial institutions in the state, based on deposits of $15.8 billion. The bank, which was established in 1908, is a principal subsidiary of Charlotte-based First Union Corporation, the nation's ninth-largest bank holding company, based on assets of $71.4 billion at Sept. 30, 1993.
 -0- 11/17/93
 /CONTACT: Sandy Deem of First Union Corporation, 704-374-2710/

CO: First Union Corporation; American Bancshares, Inc.; American
 Commercial Savings Bank, Inc., SSB ST: North Carolina IN: FIN SU: TNM

MM-CM -- CH005 -- 5381 11/17/93 10:37 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 17, 1993

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