WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Southern National Corp. finished the 1980s as a sleepy alsoran confined mainly to the eastern part of North Carolina. Now, midway through the 1990s, it has become a highly profitable regional bank, with a strong franchise in both Carolinas.

L. Glenn Orr Jr., the man who engineered this transformation, believes that Southern National, with $8.1 billion of assets, can chart its own destiny by remaining independent or, if it chooses, selling on its own terms.

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