Pending and current acquisitions: Bankers Trust of South Carolina; Pan American Banks Inc. (Miami), and Southern National Bankshares (Atlanta).

NCNB Corp., North Carolina's biggest bank, started its interstate acquisitions three years ahead of the other banks. In 1972, the bank acquired a small trust company in Florida, only weeks before Florida blocked out-of-state companies from owning Florida trust operations. It was a small and insigificant part of the bank's operations until 1981.

NCNB Chairman Hugh McColl said the big bank company was finding it difficult to expand its market share in North Carolina, and top management was trying to devise new ways for the company to grow. A group of third-tier officers suggested that the trust company might be converted into a bank. It could, and NCNB used it as a vehicle to tap the lucrative Florida market.

By 1985, when other Southeastern banks were moving into Florida under regional bank merger pacts, NCNB already had operations in Boca Raton, on the West Coast and in central Florida.

Now it is filling in the Miami region and adding South Carolina and Atlanta. It will soon become a $21.5 billion institution.

McColl acknowledged that NCNB has a reputation for being aggressive. He said the company does it's homework, but once it makes a decision to do something, it does it fast.

He said the bank's big purchases, those in Florida and South Carolina, are aimed at acquiring stable, consumer deposits. Its smaller acquisitions, like the small bank it bought in Atlanta, are "launching pads for asset creation," mainly loans.