Nevada's Comstock Bank quadrupled in size in the last five years, but that didn't stop it from consolidating five of its branches into one.

"Before, we had the accounting and marketing in one office, the commercial lending in another office, the executive headquarters in another office, and it was very difficult to communicate effectively," said Robert N. Barone, chief executive of the $120 million-asset Reno-based institution. "Whenever we held a meeting, three-quarters of the staff had to get in a car to get there."

The bank, which moved its headquarters from Carson City to Reno in the November consolidation, had been spending a lot of money to rent five offices. Conditions were also becoming increasingly cramped as it continued to grow.

All five offices were opened as branches, though only one took deposits.

The annual cost of the new 26,000-square-foot headquarters will be only a little more than the five leased facilities, Mr. Barone said.

For Comstock, 1995 was a good year. Assets increased 19%, deposits 20%, and net loans 24% as the bank passed the $120 million mark - not bad for a bank that had just $32 million in assets in 1991.

Comstock has benefited from the consolidation that has taken part in the state over the last five years. Bank of America's acquisition of Security Pacific and Valley Bank opened up Comstock's market potential. Comstock bettered its own chances by moving its headquarters.

"In real business terms, our fourth quarter was the best we've ever had, and that's despite the fact we might have been slowed up by our move," Mr. Barone said. "Now we've got a very visible location in a part of town that is rapidly developing. It's an attractive new area."

Over the last year, Comstock's state-based competition has further decreased. Minneapolis-based Norwest Corp. snapped up the last two state- based thrifts, purchasing American Federal Savings Bank, Reno, and Primerit Bank, Las Vegas.

"We understand Norwest is a very fierce competitor, but for right now at least, things are uncertain at those institutions they've purchased," Mr. Barone said. "During the period of chaos, there's a window of opportunity for us."

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