Banks roll together

From 1992 to 1999, the number of commercial banks in the US decreased by more than 2,000 institutions, from 8,868 to 6,823 - mostly due to mergers - according to a a report by Charlottesville, Va.-based SNL securities.

But while the number of institutions is decreasing, the number of full-time employees in the banking industry has increased by more than 300,000 workers. This is because "regulators, like the Federal Reserve Board, are allowing banks to do more things, giving them greater ways to make more money," and so creating more jobs, says Mike Howell, an analyst at SNL.

Banks start-ups are also on the rise, nearly quadrupling between 1994 and 1999. As "big banks gobble up smaller ones, it's producing a big niche market for local community banks," Mr. Howell adds.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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