Finance: The Large Economy

Size As the U.S. braces for a colossal wave of bank mergers, customers wonder whether bigger will be better

If your local bank has not yet been gobbled up by a larger one, chances are it will be in the next few years. Burdened by too many banks chasing too few customers, the troubled industry is headed for a surge of mergers that will determine its survival and affect the way Americans borrow and save. Acquisitions and closings have already shrunk the number of U.S. bank holding companies, which own one or more banks, from nearly 13,000 a decade ago to 10,000 today. With bills now before Congress to permit big banks to take over smaller ones anywhere in the...

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