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Demonstrators Protest Proposed Banking Deal

SATURDAY, NOV. 30, 1996

NationsBank Corp.’s plan to acquire Boatmen’s Bancshares Inc. was denounced here today by dozens of chanting demonstrators from St. Louis who marched past the New York Stock Exchange.

They gathered to voice their fears that the combined banks won’t treat minorities in St. Louis fairly.

Harry Alford, president and chief executive of the National Black Chamber of Commerce in Washington, said his organization would appeal to the Federal Reserve Board to reject NationsBank’s planned $8.7 billion acquisition of Boatmen’s.

Alford called NationsBank “carpetbaggers from North Carolina” and said “the black community is getting shortchanged,” Alford said. “We want everyone to know they shouldn’t buy Boatmen’s shares.”

NationsBank defended its record.

Melba Spencer, spokeswoman for NationsBank at its Charlotte, N.C., headquarters, said: NationsBank “has a strong record in the area of minority lending, community investment and community investment-lending.”

For more than an hour on a frigid postThanksgiving morning, the demonstrators jeered and brandished signs, underscoring a demand that NationsBank should increase the amount of money it plans to allot to loans for minorities and minority-owned businesses in St. Louis to $1 billion from $10 million.

The demonstrators angrily chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho/NationsBank has got to go,” “Stop corporate greed” and “No Money/No Peace.”

In a peaceful but noisy protest, they also waved placards, proclaiming such messages as “Stop NationsBank Merger,” “NationsBank Discriminates,” “We Want Jobs” and “Teach Wall Street a Lesson.”

“We feel our community should be getting more money for minorities,” said Eddie Hasan, who identified himself as the St. Louis-based executive director of the Minority Contractors Association. The organization with headquarters in Washington has several state and regional chapters.

Demonstrators said the crowd of about 100 demonstrators mostly hailed from St. Louis and traveled to New York to make their voices heard in a visible location.

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