Following completion of its parent's merger with BB&T Financial Corp. later this month, what is now Southern National Bank will be installing a system to streamline its securities trading operations.

The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based institution - to be renamed Branch Bank and Trust - signed a licensing agreement with Sungard Financial Systems Inc. for its Advanced Portfolio System, which handles securities processing and reporting.

"We believe this system will allow us to have more flexibility and add automation to our operation," said C. Callaway Faircloth, senior vice president and interest rate risk manager at Southern National. "Once we complete the merger, we will concentrate on installing the system and bringing it up live."

Installation is scheduled to be completed in the summer, and the bank plans to be up and running by the beginning of next year.

Mr. Faircloth said the licensing agreement cost approximately $200,000.

Among the system capabilities are calculations of mortgage-backed yields and cash flow projections. It also has an interface to the bank's general ledger system for posting of maturities.

"This system takes many of the manual tasks in our operation and automates them," said Mr. Faircloth.

The Advanced Porfolio System operates in a Microsoft Corp. Windows environment and has the ability to interface with importing and factoring information feeds to update portfolio valuation.

The merger of Southern National Corp. and BB&T, announced last year, will create an $18 billion-asset company with a branch network stretching across North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

Once the consolidation is complete, the institution will have the largest deposit share in North Carolina, the third-largest in South Carolina, and will be the sixth-largest bank in the South.

At the time the merger was announced, L. Glenn Orr Jr., Southern National's chairman and chief executive, said the combination would bring together two high-performing, well-managed, structurally and financially compatible institutions.

"Both partners already have solid capital positions, excellent credit quality and strong branch office networks which complement each other very well," he said. "These foundations create the opportunity to jointly build a banking institution which is stronger and more competitive than either can be on a stand-alone basis."

Upon completion of the merger, Mr. Orr will retire and John Allison 4th, BB&T's chairman and chief executive, will assume the same titles at the consolidated institution.

Vernon Plack, a securities analyst at Scott & Stringfellow Inc. in Richmond, Va., said that if ever a merger of equals had a chance to succeed, it is this one.

"This is a classic merger of equals, an institution which will reward shareholders down the road," he said. "The merger is creating a super community, consumer-based institution that will be a very attractive franchise."

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