Our heritage: Connecting coast-to-coast and around the globe

North Carolina National Bank made innovations in interstate banking.

In the last decades of the 20th century, the American banking industry underwent a major restructuring through mergers and acquisitions. The number of banks across the United States fell from 14,000 to less than 7,500. Under the exceptional leadership of CEOs Addison Reese, Thomas Storrs and Hugh McColl, Jr., Charlotte-based North Carolina National Bank (NCNB) was in the forefront, consolidating through acquisitions of regional banks and looking across state lines to forge the way toward a new kind of banking.

Legislation passed during the Depression had prohibited bank expansion across state lines, but modern, mobile consumers created a demand for consistent financial services nationwide. Large institutions in the traditional banking capitals of New York and Chicago looked for ways to solve the interstate banking puzzle, but it was our Charlotte bank that put the pieces together. Starting in 1982, NCNB made a string of strategic acquisitions and, in 1991, purchased Atlanta-based C&S/Sovran to become NationsBank. In 1994, changes to federal legislation made national banking a reality. NationsBank acquired California-based BankAmerica Corp. in 1998. The acquisition created the first truly nationwide bank, with offices coast to coast: Bank of America.

With the 2004 acquisition of FleetBoston Financial Corporation, Bank of America entered the Northeast, creating a footprint that spanned the East Coast. In 2009, the bank acquired Merrill Lynch, a premier financial services franchise for wealth management and investment banking with international operations. The company now has a presence that spans the globe.