Consolidation in the banking industry is speeding toward its final phase-a wave of deals that could create a few dominant national companies, according to the head of Goldman, Sachs & Co.'s bank merger practice.

This final rush of major mergers among the industry giants probably will be over within two to four years, Christopher J. Flowers, a partner in the Wall Street firm, said Tuesday. After that, he said, merger activity is likely to slow to a trickle of smaller deals to solidify banks' positions in regional markets.

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