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A plan among japanese lenders to form the biggest bank in the world generated optimism that similar alliances would follow in Japan, thinning the ranks of an overcrowded industry. Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, Fuji Bank, and Industrial Bank of Japan said they will form a joint holding company by the autumn of next year and integrate business operations by the spring of 2002. The move will create the first trillion-dollar financial institution and help put the languishing firms back in the global rankings. Assets at the three banks exceed $1.2 trillion, easily surpassing the current world banking leader, Deutsche Bank, which has assets of $735 billion.

Americans shouldn't conclude the exception has become the rule, even though the US economy has gone through a spectacular streak in recent years, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Jack Guynn warned. Although he didn't directly comment on the likely outcome of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting tomorrow, Guynn's comments fueled speculation that the Fed will raise interest rates to rein in economic growth.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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