Banc One Corp., NationsBank, and Northern Trust Corp. led the banking industry in mutual fund asset growth during the first half of 1994, boosting assets under management by at least $2 billion each.

That is the key finding of a study of bank proprietary mutual funds by Financial Research Group, a Chicago firm that tracks the mutual fund industry.

Banc One Corp., Columbus, Ohio, took first place in a ranking of 131 banks, boosting mutual fund assets by $3.5 billion, to $7.9 billion, in the 12month period that ended June 30.

NationsBank Corp., Charlotte, N.C., placed second with a $3 billion asset increase, bringing total mutual fund assets to $13.5 billion at midyear.

Northern Trust ranked third. Assets invested in mutual funds managed .by the Chicago-based bank grew $2.3 billion during the first half of the year to $3.2 billion.

The rankings take into account asset growth of openend long-term funds as well as money market mutual funds. Long-term funds include stock and bond funds.

Financial Research Group also reported on net sales of proprietary mutual funds by the 50 banks whose mutual funds grew fastest.

Net sales is a measure that excludes redemptions and gains or losses attributable to investment performance. When the banks are viewed this way, a different picture appears.

Northern Trust had $2 billion in net sales for the first half of 1994, placing it ahead of Banc One, which had net sales of $1.7 billion.

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