Fight For Survival

The battle royal over U.S. banking's separation of powers

Behind the sedate granite facades and oak-paneled boardroom doors of Wall Street, a bitter power struggle is under way that could well decide the fate of the $2.7 trillion U.S. banking industry. The battle pits behemoth against behemoth, commercial banks against investment-banking houses, prestigious names like Citicorp, Bankers Trust and BankAmerica against equally blue-chip concerns like First Boston, Salomon Brothers and Goldman, Sachs. But fundamentally, the struggle matches traditional U.S. bank-lending practices against computer-driven techniques that are drastically changing the way that more than $6 trillion worth of nongovernment credit is channeled through the U.S. economy.

Old-fashioned bank methods are losing...

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