Mergers helped to fatten bankers' cash compensation again last year, and nowhere more than at Bank One Corp.

An American Banker compilation of high-level pay data from publicly traded companies showed that Bank One chairman Verne G. Istock and vice chairman David J. Vitale posted the largest percentage gains in 1998 annual compensation-702% and 437%, respectively. John S. Reed of Citigroup Inc. was a distant third, with a 135% pay increase. (Tables begin on page 8.)

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