Expanded corporate finance product menus helped some of the nation's largest banking companies offset shrinking margins in the traditional commercial lending business last year.

Several, including Chase Manhattan Corp., Bankers Trust New York Corp., and BankAmerica Corp., posted robust corporate finance revenues in 1997. Their gains from new fee-producing businesses, including securities underwriting and mergers and acquisitions advisory, helped insulate these banks from swings in the fortunes of the market, analysts said.

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