NationsBank Corp. said Wednesday that it is considering the sale of its U.S. government securities dealership.

NationsBank owns one of the 38 primary dealers designated to deal directly with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the Treasury bond market.

While major commercial and investment banks have long-standing primary dealerships, there are occasional lineup changes. NationsBank may be the latest to decide its operation has lost strategic importance.

Bill Maxwell, chairman of NationsBanc Capital Markets Inc., said its primary dealership has been "consistently profitable" and has "an exceptional group of talent." But he asserted that NationsBank is looking for "growth momentum."

"The sale of the primary dealer would allow for (the investment banking subsidiary's) continued growth while potentially freeing up resources needed to support our core corporate customer franchise," Mr. Maxwell said.

He said the unit would continue to meet institutional investors' and clients' needs out of Charlotte and Chicago.

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