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NATIONSBANK CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER HUGH MCCOLL'S ADDRESS TO THE TAMPA BAY BUSINESS HALL OF FAME

NEWS EDITORS AND BUSINESS REPORTERS: Remarks made by Hugh McColl at the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame Awards. Note references to A.L. Ellis, a NationsBank board member and a Hall of Fame inductee.
 /ADVANCE/ TAMPA, March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is the full text of tonight's 7:30 p.m. address by NationsBank Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hugh McColl to the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame at the Regency Hyatt Downtown, Tampa:
 It's a pleasure to be back in Tampa and a privilege to be a part of this event. Tonight's honorees make a distinguished group and this is their evening. Before I go any further, I want to congratulate each of them. I also want to say to them -- thank you. It turns out that six of tonight's inductees have served as directors of our predecessor banks here in Florida. So, in addition to thanking them for all they have contributed to this community and this state, I am indebted to them for their guidance of our company and its predecessor institutions.
 It was suggested that I try to touch on several topics -- the future of our company, the future of banking in Florida and the U.S. and, if time permits, at least some of the impact of the President's proposed economic package.
 But, if you would indulge me for a minute or two, I want to say a few words about Al Ellis. I must start by saying that it is with mixed emotions that I come here tonight. The first emotion is happiness for Al for an honor well earned. The second emotion is surprise ... surprise that this honor has not already been bestowed.
 Al Ellis has been successful through at least three generations of business leaders. In fact, you could argue that he achieved enough to earn an award like this in two prior quarter centuries.
 Al, of course, came to Florida as a young man with very little money in his pocket. Today, he's said to be worth a billion dollars. Now, Al may not confirm that -- but he's so close to it that he probably won't deny it either.
 Over the years, I have known some billionaires -- like Ross Perot and a few others -- but they've all made it in the stock market. Al, on the other hand, has made his out of pure hard work and smart investment in Florida. Al grew up working for every penny he ever received from his father. When he went off to college, he is said to have attended an economics class where he asked the professor how much money he made. When the professor answered, Al said "Hell, you can't teach me anything," and he got up and left college. (Whether that is true or not, I don't know. But, knowing Al, I would guess that it is.)
 It's said that Al rode into Florida on a mule. He's been earning money ever since -- and has provided a terrific example of the miracle of compund interest over time, lot's of time.
 Like a lot of people in this part of the country, I have had the experience of negotiating with Al. That experience resulted in a huge transference of wealth -- from me to him. I came away a wiser man ... and he came away a lot richer.
 I've negotiated with more than a few bank owners, but I learned more from dealing with Al than from any of them. In fact, I learned more every time we sat down at the table -- because he never agreed to anything for more than one day. He would agree to a part of the deal on one day and come back the next saying he had consulted with the Lord and the Lord had said he ought not to do that. So we would start again from the beginning.
 Now, I've been accused of speaking my mind to anyone who will listen. But those merger discussions gave even me a lesson in how to speak directly. At our very first meeting, Al sat us down and put it to us straight. He said: "Gentlemen, I have talked with every holding company in Florida, and they have come to talk to me as well. There is no reason for me to merge with anyone else in this state, because I could put a bank anywhere they had one. I am not going to give up anything I have already worked for. Unless you are willing to agree to that, there is no use in talking, because I do not have to sell. Nobody is going to take me over because I absolutely own and have absolute control of the Ellis Banking Corporation."
 Well, I played a little poker as a Marine -- but I had never run into an opening hand quite that strong. But, needless to say, we stayed in the game. And, for all that Al and his company have meant to our company, I have been grateful ever since that we did.
 Al is the consummate role model for any banker. He financed hundreds of Florida's leading businesses through the Ellis Banks. Through his actions, he made an unmatched contribution to the economic vitality of this region. He also made a lot of money and he has since set a high standard for philanthropy.
 NationsBank today is a company with many different banking heritages. In Florida alone, 13 banks and bank-holding companies have come together to form a $23-billion company. But with Al still coming into the office and still holding a seat on our Florida board, we continue to benefit from one of this state's greatest banking figures. And that contribution to our company was worth any price.
 -----------------------
 Moving on, I'd like to take a minute to elaborate on our experience here in Florida and what Florida banking may tell us about what's ahead for banking across the United States.
 Florida banking has seen about as much change in the last 24 months as any state in the country. But, as you know, it goes back further than that. Three of the four largest banking companies in this state today did not exist in any similar form 10 years ago. These banking leaders oversee unprecedented amounts of capital for Florida and for the Southeast. That capital stands ready to fuel the economy of this state. But the financial muscle of a company like ours also enables us to make a difference beyond simply the furnishing of finance. It positions us to rally our resources to respond to crises such as Hurricane Andrew. It also means we can make the right long-term investments for our society -- like the $100-million Nations Housing Fund we established last week ... an equity pool for the development of affordable housing.
 But as much change as Florida has witnessed over the past decade, even greater change awaits the national banking scene in the coming decade. And this is where the good news for Florida comes in. Today, Florida has completed much of the difficult work that awaits the rest of the country. I'm talking about the consolidation -- the elimination of banking overcapacity -- that must occur if banks are to compete with the ever-growing list of unregulated, non-bank competitors -- GMAC, GECC and the like.
 Around the turn of the century -- and that is not very far off now -- I envision a banking industry shaped like a barbell -- with a handful of large regional and truly national banks on one end ... thousands of small, community banks on the other ... and very little in between. At NationsBank we have chosen which end of the barbell fits our philosophy. Ultimately, our vision will take us beyond being simply a national bank. We must find a way to be a bank of the Americas. The day will come -- soon -- when the Americas must act more as a unified trading block to balance the increasing economic clout of the European Community. Now, let me be clear. I'm not saying we're out to open branches from Manitoba to Mazatlan. I am saying, however, that our country's largest banks must be able to support trade across both of its borders.
 With that as our goal -- or at least one of our goals -- we must continue to grow in size and, more important, capability. Having said that, I am especially mindful of the recent trauma at some of our nation's largest and most well-known corporations. You know them from the headlines -- IBM, General Motors, Sears and American Express -- each engaged in a life-and-death struggle -- NOT with their competitors but with their very own bureaucracies.
 For a company like ours, the question is How do we create a truly national company, yet keep it off that same treacherous path?' The answer, I believe, can be found in an observation by Professor Walter Scott of the Kellogg business school at Northwestern University. Commenting in Time magazine on the state of affairs at these embattled corporate goliaths, Professor Scott said -- and I quote -- "Doing well means continually challenging your business. It means having a vision and being restless and discontented with the status quo."
 As banks and bankers forsake their staid image of the past and remold themselves to compete with all comers, staying "discontented with the status quo" is solid advice.
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 As a final note, let me say a brief word about the President's economic plan.
 I had the honor last week of appearing with other representatives of business and labor to endorse the plan at a press conference with the President. I was prepared to say that, if it is kept intact, I believe the plan can move our country forward.
 Then the plan grew even more promising. Last Tuesday, President Clinton and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan pledged to work together to ease the glut of banking regulations and, in turn, encourage more lending -- especially to small business. (While the President had mentioned banking regulatory relief in his State of the Union address, it had not appeared in any of the White House's printed material.)
 It may come as no surprise that I believe there are few ways -- if any -- the president could stimulate the economy quicker than to give banks the green light on lending again. Today, half of the bankers I know have been chilled motionless by regulations threatening action for the slightest error in judgment. The other half simply cannot dig out from the mountain of regulatory requirements covering the most routine loan.
 Small community banks spend an estimated 24 percent of their net income just satisfying regulators. Meanwhile, multi-state banks as a group are projected to spend between $5 billion and $10 billion a year just maintaining separate records for each of their state subsidiaries ... legal shells that do nothing to help us serve the customer or manage the company.
 Yes, there was a credit crunch -- and these regulations prolonged it.
 The president of the American Bankers Association says banks could free up as much as $86 billion in new loan capacity through level- headed regulatory relief. Multi-state banks alone could free up $50 to $100 billion in new loan capacity through legislation allowing us simply to merge the banks we already own.
 The President and Fed Chairman Greenspan intend to make it easier for banks to make character loans, a critical link in the credit chain that was fast becoming impossible because of regulatory overkill. Their commitment is a step in the right direction at the right time. Small businesses stand to benefit most from this type of regulatory relief -- and it is small business that historically has pulled our nation out of its economic slumps.
 Earlier today, I'm happy to report, NationsBank unveiled its own plan to help small business. Using a highly successful model from our Texas bank, NationsBank has unleashed a team of specially trained lenders who know what small business owners need. Our new Business Banking program targets companies with under $4 million in annual sales and will be launched in 30 markets, including six in Florida.
 In announcing his plans to team up with the administration, Fed Chairman Greenspan pledged to -- quote -- "break the back of the credit crunch." I think I speak for all bankers in expressing appreciation for his determination. And, speaking for all of my associates at NationsBank, we pledge to do everything we can to give our economy a full head of steam.
 -0- 3/3/93/2030
 /CONTACT: Sheryl A. McAlister of NationsBank, 704-386-3150 or (home) 704-366-2815/
 (NB)


CO: NationsBank Corporation; Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame ST: Florida IN: FIN SU:

CM -- CH012 -- 2682 03/03/93 18:02 EST
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