Wheat First Securities was the No. 1 adviser in bank mergers and acquisitions in the South, according to SNL Securities.

Wheat received advisory credit on six deals, including the second- largest merger of the year, BB&T Financial Corp.'s acquisition of Southern National Corp. The over-$1.1 billion deal combined two North Carolina-based banks.

Wheat's advisory deal volume, accumulated almost exclusively in the Southeast, elevated it to eighth nationally for the year, up from 27th in 1993 and 43d in 1992.

Wheat and Merrill Lynch both wrote the fairness opinions on the BB&T merger, while Lehman Brothers served as adviser for both the buyer and the seller.

Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers shared second place in southeastern ranking.

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The Southwest was the least active region for banking mergers and acquisitions.

The advisory leader, Alex Sheshunoff & Co., worked on 13 deals, worth over $199 million. Two of Sheshunoff's biggest deals were Deposit Guarantee's $39.1 million acquisition of Citizens National Bancshares and Premier Bancorp's $25.9 million acquisition of Red River Valley Bank.

Montgomery Securities ranked second in the Southwest, with four deals totaling more than $150 million. Hovde Financial Inc. ranked third, with two deals totaling more than $143 million.

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