McColl: CRA Complaints Won't Block Merger
WASHINGTON - NCNB Corp. chairman Hugh McColl said his company's merger with C&S/Sovran Corp. will weather the storm of protest expected from consumer groups critical of his bank's Community Reinvestment Act record.
At an analysts meeting Monday, Mr. McColl said he "expects some challenges" but expressed confidence they will not snag the $4.3 billion deal.
Consumer groups claim the bank's compliance record is lousy. But regulators have assigned both NCNB and C&S/Sovran the second best of four CRA grades.
Consumer groups have won victories protesting other recent Southeast mergers. First Union Corp.'s 1989 acquisition of Florida National Banks of Florida Inc. was delayed until First Union agreed to make more loans to low-income borrowers.
Thomas Schlesinger, director of the Southern Finance Project, called the latest merger "wrong-headed" and predicted "a lot of groups in the Southeast will challenge it."
Michael Sorrel, speaking for the Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina, said the state's community groups are considering a protest but have not made any final decision. "We're doing our homework," he said.