Banking Goes National

Big-city moneymen reach across state lines in search of the choicest markets

National chains are the American way of marketing. Products from hamburgers and mufflers to computers and ice cream are sold in look-alike outlets from Hawaii to Maine. Until recently, one area of business was restrained from going this route: banking. While Canada has just eleven banks and Britain has about 300, the U.S. has some 15,000. Nebraska alone has 283 different banks, Oklahoma 256 and Colorado 126. Says Walter Wriston, chairman of New York's Citicorp: "When the pioneers got off...

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