NationsBank Corp.'s agreement to sell off two branches in Rome, Ga., exemplifies a trend: big banks retreating from smaller markets where they don't have dominant market share.

NationsBank's decision to sell the two branches in Rome (pop. 30,326) last week to Synovus Financial Corp. for an undisclosed sum follows First Union Corp.'s recent divestiture of two branches in Albany, Ga., and one each in Franklin, Va., and Courtland, Va.

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