And he's not finished yet. "Centura wasn't the last acquisition," a spokesman says. "We're still looking."

With little room for expansion in Canada, and with the government having vetoed mergers among the nation's handful of large banks, the U.S. is Cleghorn's natural area for expansion. Even before his deal to buy Centura, Royal last year agreed to acquire Dain Rauscher Corp., the Minneapolis-based broker, and bought Chicago-based Prism Financial Corp., a mortgage banking and brokerage firm, and Liberty Corp. of Greenville, SC.

The question is where the $199 billion-asset Royal will go next. Centura may give an indication. Royal got Centura for a good price because Centura's stock had been in the dumps. About two years ago Wall Street loved it, but investors began to sour in 1999 after Centura announced plans to buy Triangle Bancorp of Rocky Mount, NC.

Making matters worse, interest rates started rising, and no matter what Centura CEO Cecil W. Sewell Jr. did, nothing helped the stock price. Royal ended up paying about twice Centura's book value. Now, at least, Sewell will be chairman of RBC Centura.

In the meantime, Cleghorn is still on the prowl. Other potential targets, based on Centura's profile in terms of assets, price/earnings ratio and price/book ratio, are listed in the table above.

Potential Targets
Bank, State
Assets ($ Bil.)
Price/Book
ROAE
Associated Banc, WI
13.1
207%
17.05%
Citizens Banking, MI
8.4
199
12.20
Commerce Bancsh., MO
11.1
232
16.42
First Virginia, VA
9.5
223
15.50
People's Bank, CT
11.6
180
13.66
Sky Financial, OH
8.4
229
18.33
All data as of Dec. 31, 2000
Source: SNL Securities

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