BANKING: Better Than Marriage

Under the eye of television cameras, the heads of three leading European banks took their places on gilded Louis XV chairs at an oblong marble table in an 18th century Baroque palace. Each man in turn signed a document. Then the trio toasted the occasion in Moët & Chandon champagne—as well they might. Credit Lyonnais of France, Commerzbank of Germany and Banco di Roma of Italy had just joined in a unique accord that one executive described as having "all the advantages of a merger without its inconveniences." The signing brought into...

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