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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Lauch Faircloth, July 16, 1999. Interview I-0070. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Successful leadership drives growth of banking in Charlotte

To Faircloth, the growth of banking in Charlotte, North Carolina, comes down to skillful leadership. He offers a sketch of the growth of some of the area's more successful banks.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Lauch Faircloth, July 16, 1999. Interview I-0070. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Let me ask to start, I thought I might visit with you just for a few minutes before we turn to ag[ricultural] history on the issue of the rise of North Carolina's trans-banking center, the rise of big banks in Charlotte and so forth and your perspective. Certainly up in Washington you were engaged and involved in some of those issues. LAUCH FAIRCLOTH: Well, I think you have to credit the rise of major banking in North Carolina first to two people and then later on to a third. Number one, never were there two more aggressive bankers or effective ones, for that matter, than Hugh McColl and Ed Crutchfield. They both got into it early, the expanding of the banks. You've got to realize that NationsBank is forty years old. It started from two very small banks in Charlotte American Trust and Commercial Bank of Charlotte and then Security to where it is today. Although a man named Addison Reese started this and then Tom Storrs--. But certainly the super aggressiveness that moved NCNB was put together by McColl in a very fortuitous move by the FDIC in allowing him to move into Texas with the Republic bank, which was a tremendous boost. Actually, Republic Bank was probably a stronger bank than NCNB at the time of the merger. But the FDIC decided to go with NCNB, and that's where it went. The Texans said that NCNB was an acronym for 'No Cash for Nobody' after they moved to Texas. It was a very, very unpopular bank down there when they moved for a long time. The same to a lesser degree is true with Crutchfield. But Crutchfield didn't have much of a predecessor. Hugh Cameron went in and had started some little merger, but actually, First Union was put together by Skipper Bowles. Skipper's father in law had a bank and he merged it with a bank an eastern bank that I had some interest in -- the Scottish Bank -- and called it First Union. At first they were thinking about calling it Scottish but decided that would be too local. Then they brought in a Cameron-Brown Investment Company in it. Then Cameron became head of the bank and pretty quick[ly]. I guess twenty-five or thirty years ago, McColl, Crutchfield came. He's done a spectacular job of growing the bank, though always the biggest bank in the state was Wachovia. But about this time, Wattlington left and John Medlin took over that. John started some pretty aggressive growth at Wachovia. It has seen some right spectacular movement in the last year or two. First Citizen's has expanded but much slower. It's totally controlled by the Holding family. They are very conservative people and have to be. They have started growing the bank fairly aggressively though in the last fifteen years. A very fine bank it is. The other one was a group of smaller banks that [were] put together. The core bank was a bank called Waccamaw Bank. Then there was the bank I had right much interest in called Cape Fear. It merged with Waccamaw. Waccamaw then formed with a bank from Monroe which took the name of the old initial bank. It had nothing to do with but just accepted the name that went into forming NCNB, which was American Trust. They used the name twice and they formed UCB and a man named Rowan Sasser ran that. Then it merged with the old bank from Wilson -- Branch Bank and Trust Company -- which had been strictly a farmer bank. John Allison is now rapidly growing BB&T and it has become a major player in the banking industry.