There has never been a more frenzied span in bank consolidation than this year's first half. Nearly $240 billion worth of mergers and acquisitions were unveiled-or more than the total value of deals during the past three years combined.

Dealmaking is running at a pace that could shrink the total number of U.S. banks by 5% this year, according to Thomas H. Hanley, the veteran industry analyst at Warburg Dillon Read, New York. That would be twice the shrinkage rate of last year.

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