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BANK MERGER MANIA : Creating America’s Biggest Bank

The $11-billion stock swap between Chase Manhattan Corp. and Chemical Banking Corp. would have create the largest bank in the United States. A look at both banks and how the combined company would compare to other banks:

CHEMICAL BANKING CORP.

* Rank: Fourth-largest U.S. bank

* Assets: $178.5 billion

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* 1994 net income: $1.29 billion

* Employees: 42,130

* Branches: 297

CHASE MANHATTAN CORP.

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* Rank: Sixth-largest U.S. bank

* Assets: $118.7 billion

* 1994 net income: $1.2 billion

* Employees: 33,535

* Branches: 324

NEW CHASE MANHATTAN CORP.

* Rank: Largest U.S. bank

* Assets: $297.3 billion

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* Employees: 75,000, but the companies say about 12,000 positions will be eliminated as a result of the merger.

* Branch closings: Of the approximately 480 branches in the New York metropolitan area, about 100 are expected to close.

Ranking in key businesses:

* No. 1 in mortgage servicing, including collecting payments and foreclosing; global loan syndication, in which the bank puts together financing for major borrowers; global custody, or securities record-keeping, and trading revenue

* No. 3 in home lending

* No. 4 in credit cards

A Look at California’s Biggest

Each of California’s Big Three banks enjoys advantages that could help it prosper amid the current merger mania sweeping the industry. Here’s a look at what analysts describe as their strengths:

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BANKAMERICA CORP.

* Strong retail branch system--1,939 in 10 states

* Extensive global operations

* Acquisition of Continental Bank in 1994, which has boosted earnings, drawn raves as model merger

* New high-technology ventures MECA Software and SmartCash, which will improve efficiency

Earnings, in billions of dollars:

1994: $2.2

FIRST INTERSTATE BANCORP

* Strength in the western region, with 1,142 retail branches in 13 states

* Improved credit quality and lean expense-to-revenue ratio

* Strong new chief executive in William Siart

Earnings, in millions of dollars:

1994: $733.5

WELLS FARGO & CO.

* Strong stock price--2.6 times book value--which adds to its ability to acquire other banks

* Commonly perceived as the nation’s best-managed, most productive large banking company

* Progress in developing lower-cost alternative delivery systems such as ATMs in supermarkets and banking by telephone

Earnings, in millions of dollars:

1994: $841

Sources: Bloomberg Business News, Associated Press, company reports. Researched by JENNIFER OLDHAM / Los Angeles Times


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