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PHILADELPHIA-The pace of bank consolidations here and throughout Eastern Pennsylvania increases on two fronts. Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania acquires locally based Thistle Group Holdings, parent of Roxborough Manayunk Bank, for $136 million, or $26 a share, in cash. The purchase, expected to reach completion in January 2004, will give Citizens an additional 15 branches in the Greater Philadelphia market where it currently operates 157 branches.

Stephen D. Steinour, chairman and CEO of the Pennsylvania affiliate of Providence, RI-based Citizens Financial Group, says, “The acquisition of RMB strengthens Citizens’ position as Philadelphia’s second largest bank and continues our momentum and growth. The Philadelphia region is a large and important market for us.”

RMB is Citizens’ third acquisition in Pennsylvania since 2001. With the addition of RMB’s branches it will operate more than 370 branches in the state. The RMB purchase follows FleetBoston Financial Corp.’s recent acquisition of Bleu Bell, PA-based Progress Financial Corp.

In an unrelated transaction, Harrisburg, PA-based Waypoint Financial Corp. acquires two bank branches in Chambersburg, PA from First Commonwealth Bank, which is based in Indiana, PA. Waypoint plans to add a third branch in Chambersburg this fall along with one each in Shippensburg and Gettysburg, PA this year.

The five branches along with a newly relocated office in Hagerstown, MD, expand Waypoint’s presence along the I81 corridor and connect its retail operations in Maryland and Central Pennsylvania.

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