NationsBank Corp. and Chase Manhattan Corp. were the biggest contributors Monday to the stream of generally positive industry earnings for the second quarter.

NationsBank, at $164 billion in assets, was almost $50 billion bigger than Chase on June 30. And NationsBank's second-quarter net of $437 million exceeded Chase's by $130 million.

Yet there were similarities in the reports that masked the companies' size gap and their very different banking heritages.

Both showed healthy percentage gains from the second quarter of last year - 43% for Nationsbank, 32% for Chase. Both saw declines in trading revenue, which solidifies NationsBank's claim to a place among what was historically the money-center elite.

NationsBank, the fifth-largest U.S. banking company as of March 31, had annualized loan growth of 11% in the quarter. Assets were up 33% year-to-year, fueled by acquisitions. Chase's assets grew 16%.

They were almost the same in return on assets - 1.08% for Nationsbank, 1.05% for Chase. Annualized for the first six months, Chase's ROA was better, 1.16% to 1.07%.

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