Nations Bank Corp. moved to cement its standing as Texas largest bank by announcing that it will buy Corpus Christi National Bank, a $740 million-asset company near the Mexican border.

The stock-swap agreement, which is valued at about $130 million based on Nations Bank's closing price Monday of $49.75 a share, will make the North Carolina-based superregional the largest bank in the Corpus Chisti area.

Under terms of the deal, which is expected to close early next year, Nation Bank will give shareholders of Corpus Christi National 2.5 of its shares for each share they own.

In late trading Tuesday, a day after the deal was announced. Nations Bank stock was down $1, at $48.75 a share, in sympathy with a broad market downturn. The shares also may have been affected by a CNBC report by Dan Dorfman that Nations Bank may acquire Fleet Financial Group. (See related story on page 29.)

9 Offices in Corpus Chisti Area

With Corpus Chisti National's pending acquisition of Coastal Bend National Bank expected to be completed in October, the merger would give Nations Bank nine offices in the Corpus Christi area. Nations Bank, which has $124 billion of assets in nine states, currently has four offices in South Texas.

Jerry W. Gates, the president and chief executive of Corpus Christi National, will be named president of the Nations Bank subsidiary, the companies said.

The Corpus Christi area, whose economy is expected to be spurred if the North America Free Trade Agreement is approved, has been a hotbed of bank activity lately.

Last month, Cullen/Frost Bankers, the largest independent bank in Texas, doubled its deposit base in the city by acquiring a bank there owned by Texas Commerce Bancshares. In exchange, it gave the Chemical Banking unit is $164 million-asset bank in Dallas

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