BNC Corp. of Bismarck, N.D., is not a do-nothing bank.

The $175 million-asset company is selling one of its three banks - including a branch it's in the process of buying - while acquiring six branches and planning a start-up in the competitive Minneapolis market.

Also, it has just completed an initial public offering.

"I'm extraordinarily excited," said president and chief financial officer Gregory K. Cleveland. "We're doing a lot of things at one time. The thing I like about that is all of the costs are being washed through in two quarterly time periods."

However, one observer questioned the company's full plate.

"It's a pretty aggressive strategy for a bank that size," said a bank consultant who did not want to be named. "As far as what the overall plan is, that's anybody's guess. To pick up some Metropolitan (Federal Bank) branches in some of these small communities and sell a bank, I'm not sure what they're trying to achieve."

But Mr. Cleveland said the company's plans are clear cut.

BNC is selling one of its three banks, Farmers and Merchants Bank of Beach, to Community First Bankshares, Fargo, for about $3.9 million.

The bank is on the western end of BNC's North Dakota market and the company's expansion plans lie to the east, he said.

The transaction is expected to close at the end of September.

In mid-August, BNC plans to acquire seven branches with $111 million in deposits from the former Metropolitan Federal Bank, now part of First Bank System, for about $4.1 million. A branch in Beach will be sold to Community First, leaving BNC with six new locations.

BNC, which has a loan-to-deposit ratio of about 87%, needs the branches' deposits to fund loans, Mr. Cleveland said. After the acquisitions, the company's ratio will be about 52%, he said.

What's more, BNC will move out of its home market for the first time by yearend, with the start-up in downtown Minneapolis.

BNC already has a loan production office operating there and has hired Minneapolis banker Tom Resch to develop a small to medium-sized business lending niche.

"If I had to go down there and start from scratch, I'm not sure I'd want to go there," Mr. Cleveland said. But using people who know the market will allow the bank to compete, he said.

He likened the endeavor to a larger-market version of the company's Bismarck start-up in 1990.

Costs of the offering, branch acquisitions, bank sale, and de novo filing total about $500,000, Mr. Cleveland said.

Thus, second-quarter and third-quarter earnings will be flat or down, he said. But in fourth-quarter and 1996 earnings, "You're going to see some phenomenal growth, I suspect, in our loan portfolio," he predicted.

BNC completed its initial public offering last week, generating net proceeds of about $9.2 million, targeted for its expansion plans.

Going public will allow BNC to be a more aggressive acquirer in the future, because it has stock to work with as well as cash, Mr. Cleveland said.

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