When Banc One Corp. and First Chicago NBD Corp. announced their merger agreement April 13, they put out an impressive set of numbers on how the combined organization would rank in key markets and lines of business.

They failed to factor in what they did not see coming-the fact that NationsBank Corp. and BankAmerica Corp. would announce their even bigger merger the very same day.

Now it appears First Chicago and Banc One will have to back off from some of their assertions.

In addition to becoming a bigger retail bank and credit card company, the two Midwest companies had said the new Banc One would be No. 1 in midsize business lending nationally and first in its home region in lending to large corporate customers.

In the middle market, though, it is now clear that Banc One would be second to the new BankAmerica Corp.

Banc One would have 32,000 middle-market customers, the two companies said, and they acknowledged that this would be fewer than the total at the combined BankAmerica-NationsBank.

BankAmerica and NationsBank would not reveal their shares of the middle- market.

"You have to base these numbers on what is true at the time you're preparing these things," said Thomas Kelly, a First Chicago spokesman.

He said the new BankAmerica also would have more relationships with large midwestern corporate customers, those with annual revenue exceeding $500 million.

Because business banking is highly competitive, merging companies are eager to show how their combinations will help boost market share.

"Obviously, if you have the No. 1 market position, you are the No. 1 leader and provider of financing for clients," said Virginia Mackin, a NationsBank spokeswoman. "You are most likely the provider of choice."

First Chicago and Banc One are now trying to be more careful in their predictions.

But analyst Joseph Duwan of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. said that which post-merger company comes out ahead in which business line is really just about "bragging rights.

"Being big is significant," he said. "But it's profitability that matters these days, not just the number of relationships."

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