GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The way David Wagner sees it, a lot of the megamergers that took place in 1995 are simply short-term solutions to long-term problems.

The problem, says Mr. Wagner, chairman and chief executive of $11.8 billion-asset Old Kent Financial Corp., is that banks are getting their tails kicked by other financial services companies. The solution has been to merge two large banks, fire a lot of employees, and cut redundancies to take advantage of economies of scale.

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