Awards for Excellence 1999: North America
After looking at the first quarter results for many of the banks and securities houses in the US, you could be forgiven for thinking that nothing has changed much in the past year. Most produced very healthy results, some had record quarters.
Mergers and takeovers have continued, of course, but not in the same vein as last year. There have been no domestic link-ups on the scale of Citicorp-Travelers, BankAmerica-NationsBank or BancOne-First Chicago; instead, consolidation has seeped one level lower, to the likes of Fleet-BankBoston and, just last month, the $5.9 billion merger of Zions Corporation and First Security Corporation.
Elsewhere, though, there has been upheaval. Two of the top three securities firms in the US, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs were hit by the Russian meltdown (Morgan Stanley Dean Witter was less severely affected).
One fared much worse - Bankers Trust was too badly hit to rise phoenix-like from the flames this time; the rating agencies were said to be on the verge of downgrading the bank to junk status. Instead it was ensnared by a $10.1