Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin is considering rejecting two proposed bank merger deals and ruling out any consideration of restructured deals until at least mid-1999, The Globe and Mail of Toronto reported Wednesday.

That would give the Liberal government time to outline its plans for a complete overhaul of the financial services sector to encourage competition and increase consumer protection, government and bank sources say.

Mr. Martin is said to be still wrestling with several options on how to respond to the report from the Competition Bureau on the merger deals between Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Toronto-Dominion Bank.

The bureau, in a letter that will be delivered to Mr. Martin on Friday, is expected to outline a number of areas in which the deals would unduly lessen competition.

Mr. Martin is expected to make an announcement on the controversial deals early next week. The Globe and Mail reported that his list of likely responses all begin with an initial rejection.

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