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NationsBank traced its roots to two banks in Charlotte. Commercial National Bank (CNB), the earliest forerunner of NationsBank, was formed in 1874. American Trust Company was founded a few blocks down Tryon Street in 1909.
In 1957, American Trust merged with Commercial National to form American Commercial Bank. American Trust was the nominal survivor, and its president, Addison Reese, became president of the merged bank. Only four years later, in 1960, American Commercial merged with Greensboro-based Security National Bank to form North Carolina National Bank. Although American Commercial was the nominal survivor, it gave up its North Carolina state charter and took over Security's national charter. In the early 70s, it reorganized as the leading subsidiary of NCNB Corporation.
Reese turned over the presidency of NCNB to then 39-year-old Hugh McColl, who began an aggressive period of expansion. NCNB expanded beyond North Carolina for the first time in 1982, when it purchased Lake City, Florida-based First National Bank of Lake City. McColl became CEO of NCNB the following year.
In 1988, NCNB's assets grew to $60 billion after it bought the failed First RepublicBank Corporation of Dallas, Texas from the FDIC. FirstRepublic, the largest bank in Texas, had entered FDIC receivership after filing bankruptcy in March, and was the largest FDIC bank failure in history.
By that time, NCNB had become associated with "mergers, acquisitions, expansion, integration". From 1989 to 1992, NCNB acquired over 200 thrifts and community banks, many of these through the Resolution Trust program. Favorable terms, with the FDIC assuming most of the loan portfolios and absorbing mark-to-market losses, allowed NCNB to expand profitably, and a cost-cutting culture improved margins. Eventually, NCNB built a branch network stretching from Virginia to Florida, in addition to Texas.
In July 1992, Nationsbank agreed to invest $200 million in Maryland National Corporation for a 16 percent nonvoting stake and an option to buy the whole company, which it subsequently executed in February 1993.
In March 1993, NationsBank acquired Chicago Research and Trading Group, expanding into derivatives and dramatically increasing foreign exchange trading.
In September 1995, NationsBank announced the acquisition of Bank South Corp for $1.6 billion in stock. The deal significantly increased NationsBank's presence in the Atlanta banking market, where it was already a major player by virtue of the C&S purchase. 
In 1996, NationsBank acquired St. Louis-based Boatmen's Bancshares for $9.6 billion. The combined bank became the largest in the American south, with assets of $225 billion, and 2,600 branches stretching from North Carolina to New Mexico.
In June 1997, NationsBank acquired Montgomery Securities in a $1.2 billion transaction. Montgomery was integrated into the firm's existing broker-dealer, NationsBanc Capital Markets, and the combined subsidiary was renamed NationsBanc Montgomery Securities.
In 1998, it acquired BankAmerica Corporation of San Francisco in what was the largest bank merger in American history at the time. Although NationsBank was the nominal survivor, the merged bank took the better-known Bank of America name, and operates under Bank of America's charter. However, to this day it is headquartered in Charlotte at what is now Bank of America Corporate Center, and retains NCNB/NationsBank's pre-1998 stock price history. With this merger, all of NationsBank's holdings, including some of the tallest buildings in the nation (like Bank of America Plaza in Atlanta and the Bank of America Corporate Center) took Bank of America's name.
BankAmerica's broker-dealer, BancAmerica Robertson Stephens, was integrated into NationsBanc Montgomery Securities, and the combined subsidiary was renamed Banc of America Securities, headquartered in Charlotte.
- Pearlstein, Steven and Michelle Singletary. "Modest Gains Seen if NationsBank, BankAmerica Merge." The Washington Post. October 24, 1995. Financial D01. Retrieved on January 17, 2010.
- Nationsbank Confirms a $1.2 Billion Deal for Montgomery. New York Times, July 1, 1997
- Montgomery name disappears, as Banc of America Securities debuts. Investment Dealers' Digest, May 17, 1999
- Truell, Peter (July 1, 1997). "Nationsbank Confirms a $1.2 Billion Deal for Montgomery". New York Times.
- Copulsky, Erica (1999). "Montgomery name disappears, as Banc of America Securities debuts". Invesetment Dealers' Digest.
- NationsBank (Archive)