2A A Year for the Record Books.

Bank mergers and acquisitions tripled in 1995 to a total value of over $73 billion, a new high. From coast to coast, it was the year of the very big deal, including two with price tags exceeding $10 billion. The stage could be set for more action this year.

4A Rankings of the Top 150 Deals.

9A The top banks in the U.S. are getting bigger. But are they getting better? Some observers, on Wall Street and beyond, have their doubts. Meanwhile, America may finally be losing its fear and loathing of big banks.

18A Does Technology Drive Deals?

Data systems and operations are rarely the main cause for bank mergers - but they can cause headaches later.

20A Alabama: Home of the Independents

Almost alone among the states, Alabama has lost none of its big banks to outsiders. This may be the year things change. Then again, maybe not.

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