As U.S. companies continue to embrace mergers and acquisitions, bankers are stepping up their efforts to finance the deals.

Syndicated lenders that have historically targeted investment-grade companies-such as Bank One Corp., J.P. Morgan & Co., Bank of New York, and Toronto-Dominion Bank-are aggressively building their leveraged lending businesses. Each of these banks doubled their leveraged lending volume in 1998 and are expected to continue to build in 1999.

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