Retail financial institutions globally will spend $33.8 billion in 2002 on strategic technology initiatives, down from last year's estimate for 2001 of $36 billion, according to Meridien Research, a Newton, Mass.-based financial industry technology analyst firm. After the rapid dot-com bust, the arrival of a global economic slowdown, and the Sept. 11 tragedy, financial institutions closed the door on new IT spending initiatives across the board, says Bill Bradway, Meridien's co-founder and research director. The firm forecasts that financial institutions in North America will account for 36% of total strategic IT spending, followed by Europe (33%) and Asia/Pacific (21%).

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