Tom Storrs, CEO who helped build Bank of America, dies

Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:39pm EST

Feb 12 (Reuters) - Tom Storrs, who set a small North Carolina bank on the path to becoming one of the largest U.S. financial institutions, died Friday at age 93.

Storrs was chairman and chief executive officer of North Carolina National Bank from 1974 to 1983, leading the company through volatile economic times and the first wave of out-of-state acquisitions that eventually led to the creation of today's Bank of America Corp.

As CEO, Storrs helped lay the groundwork for the Southeastern Regional Banking Compact, which was an early step toward interstate banking in the United States. In 1981, NCNB used a loophole in Florida state law to buy a bank in the deposit-rich state, kicking off a wave of acquisitions in the 1980s and 1990s.

Bank of America eventually became the largest U.S. bank, but in recent years it has struggled to recover from the financial crisis. Chief Executive Officer Moynihan has been selling off businesses and investments to streamline the company, and last year, JPMorgan Chase & Co moved into the top spot.

"We can serve customers from Charlotte to China and everywhere in between because of Tom's vision and banking acumen," Moynihan said in a statement on Sunday. "Tom was an architect of Bank of America and one of the giants on whose shoulders his successors all have stood."

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