The merger trend of 1995 put the smallest remaining independent banks at an even greater cost disadvantage to their largest brethren.

A survey on retail banking by the American Bankers Association showed that banks with less than $1 billion of assets reported substantial increases in average retail bank operating expenses per customer and per employee in 1994 from a year earlier. By contrast, the cost per customer declined at banks with more than $1 billion of assets.

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