The Boatmen's Bancshares executive whom NationsBank made president of its St. Louis bank has quit to run a community bank in town.

Richard C. Jensen said he had "kind of felt out of it" at NationsBank.

"I'm used to working with the public and doing deals," he said. "I kind of missed that."

Mr. Jensen, 53, left last week to become chief executive officer of privately held Royal Banks of Missouri. Royal, also of St. Louis, has six offices and $200 million of assets; Mr. Jensen said his job is to make that $500 million in five years.

The New York native helped build Boatmen's into a St. Louis powerhouse. He was central region president of its hometown bank when NationsBank bought the company in January 1996.

He had come to Boatmen's 1980 from another St. Louis bank, Mark Twain State, whose president he had been for nine years. He had started his career in 1968 as a loan officer with American National Bank and Trust of Chicago.

Mr. Jensen said he had seen little momentum at NationsBank St. Louis, which holds $7 billion of St. Louis deposits-a 22% share making it second only to Mercantile Bancorp.

Royal, on the other hand, is "a little bank I can do something with," he said.

He said he expects to buy branches divested by some of the big banks and to pull in customers turned off by recent takeovers. Royal has already benefited from customer runoff, he said, partly from Mercantile, which has bought two large St. Louis banks in the last 12 months, and from NationsBank.

Mr. Jensen said he hopes there will be further runoff from Union Planters Corp., which is slated to buy St. Louis-based Magna Group in the third quarter.

His years of experience in St. Louis will help him bring in business, he said.

"I know this market very well," he said. "It's one where I know I can have a lot of influence."

Mr. Jensen said he had been approached by Royal's majority shareholder, Thomas Green, a St. Louis lawyer, to succeed long-time CEO Martin Harrrington. Mr. Harrington, who at 64 is nearing retirement, has been named Royal's chairman.

Observers said Royal had scored a coup. "Richard can pull business wherever he goes," said Joseph Stieven, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus & Co., St. Louis.

Charlotte, N.C.-based NationsBank Corp. had little to say about Mr. Jensen's departure. "He was a valued member of the team, and we wish him well," a spokeswoman said.

Mr. Jensen's duties have been assumed by William C. Wilson, 45, a NationsBank commercial bank executive in St. Louis. Mr. Wilson added "president" to his title.

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