NationsBank, BankAmerica, and other institutions creating the tidal wave of mergers could end up paying much lower assessments to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Why? As banks get bigger, OCC fees as a percentage of assets drop dramatically. So two banks with $200 billion and $240 billion of assets last year would have paid a total of $32.5 million in assessments. If the banks had combined and rolled all their operations into one charter, their assessment would have been reduced nearly $2 million, to $30.8 million.

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