At least half of the highly regarded leadership team of Intercontinental Bank of Miami is set to work for the bank's prospective new owner, NationsBank Corp.

Signing on William H. Allen Jr., chairman, and William L. Morrison, president and chief executive, to positions with NationsBank is considered vital to preventing Intercontinental's customers from fleeing to other community banks in the area.

The deal was announced in June, and their employment was an integral part of the negotiations. Collectively, the pair have more than 50 years of south Florida banking experience.

"NationsBank is the biggest beneficiary, because both these guys are unusually competent," said Richard X. Bove, bank analyst with Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg. "They both just have incredibly strong sales personalities."

The 60-year-old Mr. Allen, who has been chairman of Intercontinental since its inception nine years ago, is to become vice chairman of NationsBank Florida, which has $23 billion of assets in the state. In charge of business development, he's to report directly to the bank's Florida chairman, Hugh Chapman, according to officials.

"He's critical not only in attracting new customers but in retaining the old ones," said Katie K. Scanlan, spokeswoman at NationsBank Florida. "They are both well-known in Miami, and in most of Florida as well. That's hard to come by."

The 44-year-old Mr. Morrison, who has also been at Intercontinental from the beginning, is to become president of the newly formed Private Client Group at NationsBank.

"It's a bigger pond for these guys, but it's also a tremendous opportunity for them," said Lynne Laughna, bank analyst at Raymond James & Associates.

No plans have been made for the other two members of Intercontinental's executive team, Thomas B. Brady, chief operating officer, and Thomas E. Beier, chief financial officer. Neither has said he would stay or go when the merger is consummated, as is expected to happen by yearend.

Mr. Allen, Mr. Morrison, and Mr. Brady have worked for NationsBank before, after the Charlotte, N.C.-based giant bought their previous bank a decade ago.

The three worked together for a number of years at Pan American Banks Inc. in Miami, which NationsBank (then called NCNB Corp.) bought in 1985. The three stayed on briefly with the new owner; in fact Mr. Allen held the same title he's to have again - vice chairman - for two years.

"They couldn't have treated me with more dignity the last time they bought us," said Mr. Allen. "So I know the players and the system there.

"But of course, it's a lot bigger now."

Mr. Allen acknowledged that keeping Intercontinental's customers from bolting to other locally-based banks is "always an issue."

Intercontinental promoted itself as providing its customers - mainly small and medium-sized businesses with annual sales in the $1 million to $50-million range - with personal service not normally found in the large banks that dominate the state's banking industry.

Intercontinental, which nearly doubled in asset size in the past five years through a handful of acquisitions, was the second-largest publicly owned bank in the state, with just $1.1 billion of assets. Barnett Banks Inc. of Jacksonville is No. 1, with $41 billion.

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