CLEVELAND - Robert W. Gillespie would like to be known as the visionary who altered the evolution of the banking industry by crafting a long-distance merger of equals between Keycorp and Society Corp.

In justifying the union with Albany, N.Y.-based Keycorp, Society's chairman and chief executive asserts that revenue enhancements have supplanted cost savings as the top priority in bank mergers. Spending fortunes in acquisitions whose outcomes hinge on axe wielding is "yesterday's game," he says.

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