BANKING: The Battle of Big and Little

LIKE small-town America itself, the independent local bank has been fading away in many parts of the country, overcome by progress and competition from rich, efficient multibranch banking firms that are headquartered in big cities. In recent years, despite some Government constraints on bank expansions, the spread of large institutions to the suburbs and small towns has substantially quickened, investing major banks with ever more financial clout and raising howls from small bankers. As a result, the old arguments over how banking can best serve the economy and the public have burst into a controversy that will soon...

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