Speculation abounds over how NationsBank will produce projected cost savings given the staggering price (four times book value) it paid for Barnett Banks. Skepticism aside, major bank mergers between 1995 and 1997 have typically brought 40 percent cost savings, according to David Berry, research director at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, which assembled the chart of promised cost savings. The chart, which goes forward in time from left to right, also shows that expected savings seem to be increasing in out-of- market consolidations. So far, most of the merged financial institutions have met their cost savings projections, he adds.

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