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Archive for Saturday, October 3, 1998

BANKING CHANGES ARE HELD IN CHECK

October 3, 1998

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NationsBank officially became Bank of America this week, but its Lawrence customers won't see any changes for about a year.

``Today, it's business as usual,'' said Patrick Michaelis, Topeka/Lawrence NationsBank president. ``Whatever agreements you have with the bank are still the same -- the same checks, the same account numbers.''

The new company, which was created by the merger of NationsBank Corp. and BankAmerica Corp., said Thursday it had chosen Bank of America as its new name. In a statement, its chairman and chief executive officer said the strength of the word ``America'' played a part in the brand decision.

``We believe we have made an excellent choice to express who we are, what we believe and where we aspire to take this great new company,'' said Hugh McColl, who had been chief executive of NationsBank.

Beyond that news, Michaelis said, the changes will be evolutionary.

``The real public signal when we are operating as Bank of America, and not NationsBank, is when the signs change,'' he said. Signs on NationsBank's building at 900 Ohio St. and things like company letterhead and ATM cards wouldn't be changed to reflect the new name for about a year.

Worldwide, implementation will continue into 2000.

``Between now and then we will operate as NationsBank,'' he said, explaining that the computer system is still NationsBank and the phones will still be answered as NationsBank.

The biggest immediate change, Michaelis said, is that NationsBank customers now have access to nearly 14,000 ATMs across the nation, as well as about 5,000 offices in 22 states.

``It just provides unparalleled convenience,'' he said. ``I guarantee you there are people moving into Lawrence, Kansas, today who are customers of NationsBank or BankAmerica and all they're doing is changing their address instead of looking for a new bank.''

-- Richard Brack's phone message number is 832-7194. His e-mail address is rbrack@ljworld.com.

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