NationsBank Corp. has received regulatory approval for the second step of a plan to consolidate its Texas operations into the flagship bank in North Carolina.

On Jan. 15, the Office of the Comptroller gave NationsBank permission to merge Sun World N.A., a Santa Teresa, N.M., subsidiary, with the company's primary institution in Charlotte.

The Sun World merger is a critical component of the company's plan to bring Dallas-based NationsBank-Texas under the wing of its North Carolina bank.

NationsBank's strategy has riled Texas officials, who charge that the institution is attempting an end run around the state's prohibition on interstate branching.

In July, a federal appeals court, over the objections of Texas officials, allowed NationsBank to begin the first phase of its Texas consolidation by moving Sun World's headquarters from El Paso into New Mexico, under the OCC's 30-mile rule.

The OCC is considering a merger of the Dallas and Charlotte banks.

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