Banks: Looking for Security

Looking for Security

Amid the sudden-death dealmaking of the past decade, the world of banking seemed like an island of restraint. But recently the industry has come down with a case of can-you-top-this fever. The latest combination is the largest in banking history, the merger of San Francisco-based BankAmerica with its smaller Los Angeles rival, Security Pacific. With $193 billion in assets, the enlarged BankAmerica will rank a close second to New York's Citicorp among U.S. banks.

The merger could eventually reap savings of $1 billion annually for the two institutions as they combine functions and reduce overhead. This may mean layoffs of up...

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