Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

When the Niche Is "Being from Here"

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

When the Niche Is "Being from Here"

Article excerpt

For many bankers, the landscape of American banking registered a major tremor when BankAmerica and NationsBank agreed to merge, with the Banc One/First Chicago NBD deal providing a significant aftershock. But to Dick Evans, the earth barely twitched.

To understand that, you have to understand where Evans is coming from, literally. Richard W. Evans, Jr., is chairman and CEO of Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc., San Antonio, with $6.4 billion in assets (reflecting an acquisition that was to be completed in late May).

It's not that the Texan doesn't appreciate the bigger picture. He notes that, of course, the BankAmerica/NationsBank deal creates the country's first coast-to-coast banking franchise and brings Nations an international presence it didn't have before.

It's just that Cullen/Frost maintains what Evans calls a "Texas Strategy."

The day before the megadeal was announced, Evans reflects, NationsBank was the state's top bank, by asset size, and Banc One was the state's third largest bank, by the same measure. Cullen/Frost was the state's fifth-largest organization.

The day after the deal, NationsBank (to be BankAmerica in name) was still going to be the top bank, Banc One was still going to be number three, and Cullen/Frost was still going to be number five.

"So life goes on," Evans says.

Size is besides the point

Evans has no concerns for the future of the midsized bank and eschews size as a strategy in and of itself. …

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