| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 9, 1997
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REACHES RECORD AGREEMENT WITH NATIONSBANK
WASHINGTON, D.C. Assistant Attorney General Joel I. Klein announced today that the Justice Department has cleared the proposed merger of NationsBank Corporation with Barnett Banks. NationsBank agreed to divest approximately 124 branch offices with total deposits of approximately $4.1 billion. The divestiture becomes the largest bank divestiture ever in a single state and the second largest overall.
"With this historic divestiture, the citizens of Florida will continue to reap the benefits of competition,"
stated Klein, who runs the Department's Antitrust Division. "This procompetitive result should help to assure that Floridians will receive the lowest rates on loans and the best service for their banking needs."
The Antitrust Division's investigation was conducted jointly with the Florida Attorney General's Office. The divestitures will occur in 15 areas of Florida: Beverly Hills, Brevard, Columbia, Daytona Beach, Fort Myers, Key Largo, Key West, Marathon, Orlando, Naples, Punta Gorda, Sarasota, Suwannee, Tampa and West Palm Beach.
In addition to the divestitures, NationsBank has agreed not to take steps to preclude other financial institutions from leasing or purchasing any bank branches that it may close due to consolidation resulting from this merger. Subject to regulatory approvals, the branches and associated loans and deposits that NationsBank will divest will be sold to one or more competitively suitable buyers.
The proposed merger of NationsBank and Barnett Banks is subject to the approval of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The Department will advise the Federal Reserve Board that, subject to divestiture of the branch offices and associated loans and deposits, the Division will not challenge the merger. Additional divestitures may be required by the Federal Reserve Board or the State of Florida.
NationsBank is based in Charlotte, North Carolina and has 2,600 offices nationwide with about $135 billion in deposits and $240 billion in total assets. Barnett Banks is based in Jacksonville, Florida and has 862 offices in Florida and Georgia with approximately $33 billion in total deposits and $44 billion in total assets.
The largest bank divestiture occurred as a result of the Bank of America/Security Pacific merger in 1992. In that matter, total deposits of $8.8 billion were divested.