Andrew Craig III spent 1994 writing a new history for St. Louis-based Boatmen's Bancshares.

As the year began, investors still held vivid memories of the dilutive deals by his predecessor that made Boatmen's the biggest player in Missouri. Under Mr. Craig, chairman, president and CEO, the bank had focused on accretive government-assisted deals. But by 1994, such opportunities were in short supply.

The result: many analysts assumed that opportunities to grow through acquisition would be limited.

They could not have been more wrong. By year-end, Mr. Craig had acquired a mortgage company, several small banks in its nine-state market and announced a mega-deal to buy Worthen Banking Corp., Arkansas' biggest retail bank.

Indeed, as the company faces a 1995 that will open its long-protected home state to interstate banking, analysts see Boatmen's as a prize for shareholders either way.

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