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Consolidation in US Banking: Which Banks Engage in Mergers?

The number of U.S. commercial banks has declined by some 40 percent since 1984, primarily through mergers of solvent institutions. The relaxation of legal impediments to branching has enabled this consolidation, but specific characteristics of banks that engage in mergers reflect the regulatory process and market structure, as well as the bank's own condition. This paper seeks to quantify the regulatory, market, and financial characteristics that affect the probability of a bank engaging in mergers and the volume of banks it absorbs over time. We examine separately consolidation within holding companies and mergers of independent banks.

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