NationsBank Corp. ranked as the largest Small Business Administration lender in North Carolina, with 69 of the agency's conventional 7(a) loans for $6 million, according to recently released SBA statistics.

BB&T Corp. and Central Carolina Bank and Trust Co. tied for second place, with 50 loans in the highly competitive state that is also home to First Union Corp., Wachovia Corp., and Centura Banks Inc.

A total of 750 SBA loans for $150 million were made in the state during the 1997 fiscal year. In comparison, $9.5 billion was lent nationwide through the SBA's 7(a) program.

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