Officials at ABN Amro North America Inc. say they have an aggressive strategy to overtake First Chicago NBD Corp. as the No. 1 retail bank here while cutting into that company's one-third share of middle- market lending.

The $50 billion-asset unit of the Dutch banking giant ABN Amro Holding used to say it would acquire only in markets visible from the top of the Sears Tower. Now, executives say it's necessary to cross into other states to compete with goliaths such as $122 billion-asset First Chicago NBD.

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