11 APRIL 1998, Page 26

On with the motley

NOW that American banks have the money to spend on each other, this week brings the biggest merger of all: Citicorp plus Travel- ers equals Behemoth. A London bank chairman looks on with caution: 'I would rather be general manager of La Scala, Milan', he says, 'than be personnel director of that lot.' I can see what he means. With a prima donna on each side, the two have agreed to share joint billing, and will settle down to rearrange their cast of tens of thou- sands, until their customers across the world can find all their financial requisites under one roof, if that is what they want. Two more big bank mergers have followed. I see this as Sibley's Law in action. These banks have more capital than they can hold, the Law told us what would become of it, and we now know which wall they have chosen.