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The latest banking merger has a convoluted family

The Money Tree


After World War II, a Richmond matron was heard to lament, "The war was very unfortunate — so many of our boys married out of town." It's possible to imagine this lady's shock at the corporate out-of-town — indeed, out-of-state — marriages that have been consummated.

The most recent engagement, a $14.5 billion affair, has Wachovia and First Union planning a honeymoon. But is the bride marrying for love, or has she been forced into a match she doesn't want?

As we ponder the decision, let's take a look at the lineage of the Richmond branches of the bride's and the groom's families. Virginians, after all, don't marry without knowing something about the family they are joining. True, these families don't date back to 1607 like the FFVs. None of the Richmond banking institutions do, because in 1865 every Richmond-based bank failed:

THE BRIDE: WACHOVIA, b. in North Carolina, 1879

Richmond family:

Wachovia entered Richmond when it merged with Central Fidelity Banks incorporated Dec. 15, 1997, and with Jefferson Banks Shares Inc. (Charlottesville) March 20, 1998.

Central National Bank was reorganized as Central National Corp. Dec. 31, 1968, and merged with Commonwealth Banks Inc., Dec. 31, 1978, and then became Central Fidelity Banks, June 1, 1979, which merged with Wachovia Dec. 15, 1997.

Southern Bank and Trust Co. incorporated as Loan and Savings Corp. in March 1916, then changed its name to Southern Bank and Trust Mach 13, 1930, then merged with Jefferson Bankshares Dec. 31, 1979, which merged into Wachovia (see above).

GROOM: FIRST UNION, b. North Carolina in 1908 as the Charlotte-based Union National Bank, became First Union in 1958.

Richmond Family:

First Union entered Richmond by merging with Signet Banking Corporation,Nov. 28, 1997.

Bank of Virginia Central, became Signet Banking Corporation July 14, 1986.

Bank of Virginia changed its name to Bank of Virginia Central, Dec. 31, 1971.

Morris Plan Bank became the Bank of Virginia, Dec. 31, 1945.

The Richmond branch of the Morris Plan Bank entered the Richmond market in 1922.

SCORNED SUITOR: SUNTRUST b. Georgia, July 24, 1984

Richmond Family:

Crestar which merged with SunTrust Banks inc., Dec. 31, 1998

This bank began business in Virginia in January 1963 as United Virginia Bankshares . On Sept. 1, 1987, it changed its name to Crestar Financial Corp.

Crestar Financial Corp. was incorporated in Virginia in June 1962 and acquired a majority of stock in a number of Virginia banks including State-Planters Bank of Commerce & Trusts.

In 1926 State & City Bank and Trust Co. and the Planters National Bank

merged continuing as State Planters Bank and Trust Co.

In 1922, by the merger of two banks, State & City Bank and Trust Co entered the Richmond market.

1865 Planters National Bank was