The notional value of derivatives held by commercial banks increased $3.1 trillion, or 18%, last year to $20 trillion, according to a report released Thursday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Derivatives activity held fairly steady in 1995, so last year's gains return the market to its growth rates of 1993 and 1994, the Comptroller's Office said.

Eight institutions accounted for 94% of the total notional amount of derivatives in the banking system and the bulk of the $7.5 billion earned last year from cash and off-balance-sheet derivatives trading.

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