Nobody ever said it would be easy to blend the street-smart culture of a mortgage banking firm with the staid ways of a commercial bank. Arthur D. Ringwald should know. As head of residential lending at BankAmerica Corp., Mr. Ringwald has guided the second-largest U.S. bank onto the mortgage acquisition trail. In March 1994, the San Francisco company bought United Mortgage Corp., Minneapolis, for more than $100 million. Then BankAmerica expanded its reach to the East Coast, buying Arbor National Mortgage, Westbury, N.Y., for about $118 million. The deals helped push BankAmerica's servicing portfolio to $64.7 billion by yearend. Mr. Ringwald, 49, joined BankAmerica in December 1993, after a four-year stint at Sears Mortgage Corp. He recently talked with American Banker about the challenges of making the acquisitions work.

Q.: What are the issues surrounding acquisitions?

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