breaking the bank


The map below tracks how four CEOs grew a small North Carolina bank into the nation's largest - Bank of America. Click on each CEO's name to learn more about his acquisitions and see where the bank had branches during that period.

  • Addison Reese
    1960 - 1973
  • Thomas Storrs
    1974 - 1983
  • Hugh McColl
    1983 - 2001
  • Ken Lewis
    2001 - Present

North Carolina National Bank (NCNB) is formed in 1960 by the merger of Security National Bank of Greensboro, N.C., and American Commercial Bank of Charlotte, N.C. The newly formed bank is still small, with $480 million in assets. CEO Addison Reese sets his sights on North Carolina giant Wachovia, and in 1972 NCNB surpasses its rival by amassing $2.9 billion in assets.

States: North Carolina

Thomas Storrs succeeds Reese as CEO of the 26th largest bank in the country and looks to expand beyond North Carolina, lobbying Congress to permit interstate banking. In 1982, he exploits a loophole in Florida law to buy a small bank there, the first of many mergers outside of North Carolina. By the time he retires, the bank's assets have grown to $13 billion.

States: Florida, North Carolina

In 1988, McColl moves NCNB into Texas, acquiring the distressed First Republic Bank in a deal brokered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation [FDIC]. In 1991, he merges NCNB with Atlanta-based C&S/Sovran, renaming the combined bank NationsBank. And in 1998, he merges NationsBank with BankAmerica Corp. The resulting company, Bank of America, is the first bank with locations from coast to coast and has relationships with 30 percent of U.S. households. When McColl steps down, Bank of America has $642 billion in assets.

States: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C.

Lewis pushes into the Northeast by buying FleetBoston in 2004 and into Chicago by acquiring LaSalle in 2007. He also expands the scope of the bank's businesses, acquiring credit card giant MBNA in 2006 and private wealth manager U.S. Trust in 2007. But his last two deals, for mortgage giant Countrywide and brokerage and investment bank Merrill Lynch, have led to big losses -- and calls for his ouster. Nonetheless, Bank of America is now the largest bank in the country, with assets of $2.3 trillion.

States: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C.



posted june 16, 2009

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