Boatmen?s Sued

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 79 views 

A Benton County couple has filed suit against Boatmen’s National Bank of Northwest Arkansas, contending the bank illegally changed its lending policies after being acquired by NationsBank Corp.

The suit was filed June 18 in Washington County Circuit Court by Tom Mars and Woody Bassett, attorneys for William J. and Rachel M. Babcock and Paradigm Corp. It alleges Boatmen’s committed breach of contract and of fiduciary duty, deceptive trade practices and interferred with contract and business expectancies.

William Babcock borrowed $355,000 from Boatmen’s to develop Morganshire, a Bella Vista subdivision of steel-framed houses the Babcocks planned to develop through their company, Paradigm Corp. The couple personally guaranteed the note, according to the lawsuit.

But, Boatmen’s was purchased by NationsBank, an acquisition that was completed Jan. 7. In anticipation of that acquisition, the lawsuit contends, NationsBank examined all credit transactions made through Boatmen’s subsidiaries and developed a “preferred customer” profile. Although NationsBank found that “a very small fraction- of Boatmen’s Arkansas customers fit the profile, the company decided to go ahead with the acquisition “with the specific intent of unilaterally changing the lending practices” of Boatmen’s.

The complaint also alleges that Boatmen’s tried to force Babcock to increase the collateral on his note, although Babcock had an “excellent- credit history and had invested personal funds in the project.”

The lawsuit asks for a jury trial, actual and punitive damages as well as legal costs.

Boatmen’s has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit.