In a further sign of banks' progress in building capital since the early 1990s, much of the recent spate of capital issuance by banks has been in the form of senior debt.

Banks issued $7.715 billion in senior bank debt in May, almost twice as much as the $3.901 billion in senior bank debt issued in January, according to Securities Data Co. Issuance of subordinated debt over the same period of time increased only slightly from $448 million in January to $498 million in May.

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