Skeptical analysts are crawling all over the NationsBank-Barnett Banks merger, arguing that the staggering price forces NationsBank to hit unrealistic goals to make the math work.

But at least one potential problem may be minimized: The banks have similar branch and call center platforms. "The bigger issue isn't what software Barnett is using, but (whether NationsBank) used the same hardware infrastructure that Barnett has," says Robert Landry, a Tower Group analyst, who says that Barnett's hardware platform is compatible with NationsBank's Model Bank platform. "They're both OS/2, Argo-based," he says.

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