Southern National Corp.'s acquisition of a small thrift in Richmond is its first step toward building a $1 billion-asset bank in Virginia's capital, according to chairman and CEO John A. Allison.

Southern National, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., said last week that it had acquired Fidelity Financial Bankshares of Richmond for $59.4 million in stock, or twice the thrift's book value and 16 and a half times its estimated 1996 earnings per share.

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