A Deal Built on Weakness, and Strength
New York Times (09/13/00) Vol. 110, No. 10 p.C1; Norris, Floyd

All six of New York's major commercial banks will have ceded their independence after Chase Manhattan's probable takeover of J.P. Morgan is finalized. Though the wave of commercial bank consolidations can be seen as a strength, the trend may also be indicative of commercial banks losing out to investment banks, insurance companies, and brokerages. Companies loosened their dependence on commercial banks when the burgeoning stock market made it cheaper to issue securities than to take out bank loans. Commercial banks were also negatively affected by ill-advised loans and laws that hampered their ability to offer other financial products. The consolidation of banks is driven mostly by financial institutions offering similar products, strength gained through globalization, and the need for the expense of new technology to be shared, according to Sullivan & Cromwell partner H. Rodgin Cohen. Ronald Mandle, a Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst, feels that the merger between Chase and Morgan is mutually beneficial as Chase is better at technology and syndicating American loans, while Morgan has the advantage in the equity business and the European market.


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