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Banking Industry Analysis

             The banking industry has come under increasing pessimism of late because of rising short and long-term interest rates. The banking industry's market capitalization made a substantial decline. Most investors are concerned with whether the industry can sustain continued profitability as a result of these factors.
             Banks have responded in recent years to these problems by diversifying away from interest sensitive products and services. But interest rates are the fundamental aspect of any financial services. Therefore, I believe the financial services industry will be deeply affected by rising interest rates. Banks have experienced good business factors over the past two years. Interest rates were low, credit quality was good, and inflation was low. These factors are usually predictive of the types of earnings banks should report. But good times can't continue because interest rate hikes cause reduced lending activity, damaged credit quality, and reduced values of bond portfolios.
             Porter's Five Forces Analysis:.
             1. Rivalry among competing sellers:.
             The banking industry is continuing to restructure and position itself for our changing economy as a result, many mega-mergers have occurred in recent years. Citicorp and Travelers Insurance agreed to merge in April 1998 at a value of $70 billion. Bank of America and Nation's Bank also agreed to merge shortly afterwards which became the largest bank in the United States. Bank mergers are usually consummated as a cost-cutting measure but also to compete with non-bank providers of financial services. Bank rivalries are very strong, and as we've seen many of the largest banks are merging to increase their power. In fact, Charlotte, NC is practically owned by Bank of America and First Union.
             2. Potential entry of new competitors:.
             There is virtually no chance of a new entrant significantly affecting the major banks' market share. The only place that new entrants may have a chance in the industry is through Internet banking, because of its low cost.

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