NationsBank of Texas is selling off a slew of small trust accounts, which total $160 million in mostly funeral and court settlement funds, to a local trust company that specializes in their management.

Funeral trusts, or escrow accounts set up to pay for burial costs, coffins, cemetery plots, and their ongoing care, are the bread-and-butter of Houston-based Southwest Guaranty Trust Co. Its chairman, William E. Mercer, is a former chief financial officer of Service Corp. International, the country's largest funeral home operator. In 1989, Mr. Mercer bought the funeral trust business from his former employer.

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