Most stock analysts are optimistic that mergers resulting from enactment of the financial modernization bill would be positive for banks because out-of-industry combinations would open new sources of revenue for them.

"Merger sentiment is moving away from traditional interstate banking toward cross-industry mergers and acquisitions," said Mark C. Alpert, an analyst at Deutsche Bank BT Alex. Brown, who follows nonbank financial services companies. "For investors, I think the hope is that the focus will shift from cost-saving to cross-selling and revenue enhancement."

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