Banking: First National's Full House

The world's busiest bank has, in the past five years, doubled its number of branches (to 278), almost doubled its loans (to $7.9 billion), and ventured into such sidelines as equipment-leasing and factoring, a fairly risky form of finance in which loans are made against accounts receivable. Such expansion and diversification enabled Manhattan's 153-year-old First National City Bank last June to pass its archrival, the Chase Manhattan, and become the nation's second largest bank. With assets of $13.8 billion, it now ranks behind only California's Bank of America, which has $15.9 billion.

Conrad's Comrade. The "Citibank," as moneymen call it,...

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