Merger would create biggest bank in PA

Banco Santander, the Spanish company that owns Sovereign Bank, has been in talks with Warren Buffett-backed M&T bank on a possible merger, reports Britain's Financial Times here.

A combination would create Pennsylvania's largest bank, with nearly 500 branches, according to FDIC data (though some are likely to close). Though they're likely to close some where there's overlap (each bank has 14 branches in Berks County, for example). By comparison, PNC Bank, the largest based in PA, has nearly 400 branches here. Sovereign-M&T would also be a player in New England and New York State.

Both banks are focused upstate and in the suburbs. Even if the deal goes through,Wells Fargo (ex-Wachovia, First Union, Philly National, First Pennsy...) would remain the dominant bank in the Philadelphia area.

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