John Mc Coy: The Real Hungry Mc Coy

Banc One's empire-building chairman is at it again. On Oct. 20, John McCoy announced a $3 billion stock swap to reel in New Orleans-based First Commerce, with $9.3 billion in assets.

The First Commerce buy is an unusually large one for McCoy. He has snapped up over 60 banks in the past decade, but many of them had fewer than $1 billion in assets. Indeed, McCoy has sat out much of the current wave of bank mergers. "There are certain prices for banks that we won't go over," he says. But he wanted First Commerce to get a big chunk of the lucrative New Orleans market, says Sandra Flannigan, a regional bank analyst at Merrill Lynch. The deal also gives him a staging area for any further forays in the South.

McCoy has been adding to other parts of his kingdom of late. In June, he bought First USA, the nation's fourth-largest issuer of Visa and MasterCard credit cards, for $9 billion. So Banc One seems to be in a buying mood again. But this time around, McCoy is carrying a big stick.

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