MONEY: The Rush to Repay

Ordinarily, bankers keep their charges for borrowing in lockstep with those of rival lenders. But when the Chase Manhattan Bank initiated the latest round of interest-rate reductions two weeks ago, other bankers grumbled that it was too much too soon. The Chase sliced its prime rate by a fat ½%, from 5¾% to 5¼%. It was the tenth drop in the prime since June 1969, when it was at an alltime high of 8½%, and the eighth reduction in the past four months. Instead of going along as usual, other bankers reluctantly lowered their prime rates by only half as...

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