As the Big Six prepare to merge into the Big Four, some of the accounting industry's chief clients-banks-are reviewing relationships and bracing for higher prices.

The two pairs of accounting firms that are expected to merge this spring count 22 of the 25 largest banks in the United States among their audit clients. KPMG Peat Marwick and Ernst & Young audit 17 of these banks; Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand audit five, according to Public Accounting Report, an industry newsletter.

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