Position:Book review

Rick Rothacker (author); BANKTOWN; John F. Blair (Business & Economics) $26.95 ISBN: 9780895873811

Many stories will likely be written about the financial meltdown that threw the US and ultimately the world into a wrenching recession. But few books will zero in on two banks or one town as does Rick Rothackeras compelling story, Banktown.

Rothacker, an award-winning reporter with the Charlotte Observer, has a unique insideras perspective about the incredible rise to national prominence of two banks that have their roots in Charlotte, North CarolinaaBank of America and Wachovia. Rothacker traces the history of these banks, how acquisi-tions and mergers added to their power, and the sometimes bitter rivalry that flared between the growth-oriented CEOs of each. Indeed, one legendary leader of Bank of America, Hugh McColl, asked in 2008 how Charlotte managed to become second only to New York as the nationas top banking center. He answered his own question by saying, simply, aWeare talking about competition.a

It was competition that caused both Bank of America and Wachovia to go on acquisition sprees that turned them into national financial behemoths. As early as 1985, bank merger mania was all the rage in North Carolina. At the helm of Charlotteas North Carolina National Bank, known as NCNB, was Hugh McColl, later to become head of Bank of America. Charlotteas First Union bank was run by Ed...

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