First Union Corp. is closer to its goal of accumulating $100 billion of mutual fund assets by 2000.

Last weekend the Charlotte, N.C., bank merged the $4.7 billion CoreStates Financial Corp. fund family, the CoreFunds, with its Evergreen Fund complex, said William M. Ennis, managing director of the fund group.

The Evergreen fund family now has assets of $54 billion in 84 mutual funds, Mr. Ennis said.

First Union bought Philadelphia-based CoreStates for $20 billion in April.

Bank executives set the $100 billion target in 1996. Aided by several acquisitions and the continuing bull market in equities, the bank seems to be making headway toward that goal.

The CoreStates acquisition brought First Union 13 funds, four of which remain stand-alone portfolios, said Mr. Ennis. The rest were merged into the Evergreen family.

The four CoreStates funds that remain intact now carry the Evergreen moniker. They are the Evergreen Select Equity Index fund, with $324 million of assets; the Evergreen Select Special Equity Index fund, $76 million; the Evergreen Stock Selector Fund, $560 million; and the Evergreen Select International Bond fund. (A bank spokesman had no figure for the bond fund.)

"Each one of them filled a niche within our product line," said Mr. Ennis, explaining the decision to keep the four funds as stand-alone portfolios.

First Union has done preliminary shareholder notification on the fund merger and is marketing the fund changes through its broker-dealer and institutional client lists, he said.

Mr. Ennis said the bank will continue its current intensive advertising campaign, which seeks to create a brand identity for the Evergreen name. "We're going to double our advertising next year," he said. He declined to say how much the current campaign, which is run by Hal Riney & Partners in San Francisco, costs.

The $100 billion goal is reachable, Mr. Ennis said, and the bank is ahead of schedule.

Including the Mentor Funds, an $11 billion complex that First Union got through its purchase of Wheat First Butcher Singer, the bank has nearly $65 billion of mutual fund assets under management, Mr. Ennis said.

Through sales and distribution efforts, the bank could hit the $100 billion number "organically" without further acquisitions, said Mr. Ennis.

There are no plans to merge the Mentor Funds into the Evergreen complex.

"At this point we're comfortable they're growing and they have their own unique distribution capabilities," he said.

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