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Awards for excellence - North America

BEST BANK*
JPMorgan Chase

BEST DEBT HOUSE*
Lehman Brothers

BEST EQUITY HOUSE*
Merrill Lynch

BEST M&A HOUSE*
Goldman Sachs

BEST PROJECT FINANCE HOUSE
Goldman Sachs

BEST AT RISK MANAGEMENT
Deutsche Bank

BEST AT CASH MANAGEMENT
Citigroup

BEST AT INVESTOR SERVICES
State Street

               *Also best in the US

US financial markets shuddered after the recent upheaval in the credit markets but overall the preceding 18 months were a good year for banking and investment banking. Lending picked up, though there remained more supply than demand for the most part. Private-equity, equity and corporate advisory businesses picked up and debt capital markets remained solid, even if new issuance was dominated by financial institutions; corporate credit quality continued to improve.

Earnings were, as a consequence, generally very good, with a few exceptions here and there. That brought an end to what some had believed would become a prolonged round of mergers among US financial institutions. Having started with Bank of America's acquisition of FleetBoston in October 2003, and bolstered by the merger of JPMorgan Chase and Bank One announced in January 2004, a number of regional banks announced deals.

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