BANK MERGER ACTION TOPS 4-YEAR RECORD

BANK MERGER ACTION TOPS 4-YEAR RECORD

U.S. bank merger and acquisition activity has surpassed a four-year record, with deals announced in 1995 totaling $24.9 billion so far, according to Securities Data Co., an industry group based in Newark, N.J.

The activity was highlighted by NBD Bancorp's recent $5.3 billion bid for First Chicago and First Union's $5.1 billion bid for First Fidelity Bancorporation.The previous record was set in 1991 with a record $24 billion in merger and acquisition transactions.

The group said 219 transactions have been announced in the year to date, compared with 222 deals in the year-ago period. But the 1995 volume of $24.9 billion is well above the same period in 1994, which saw volume of just $8.7 billion.

In the current business environment, it is rare to find a hostile bank takeover. More than 98 percent of the bank mergers announced so far this year have been classified as friendly, with the remainder seen as neutral.