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The California company has poached lenders from larger rivals, while expanding into specialty finance lines. Those moves have positioned Opus for a growth spurt that should outpace organic growth at most other community banks.

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HomeTrust Bancshares created a special call center and encouraged tellers to invite ATM customers inside the branches to answer questions and to differentiate the company from Bank of America in terms of fees.

PacWest needed deposits to fuel its lending machine. Square 1 was drowning in liquidity. Similar deals could be in the works as low-cost deposits become more valuable in light of likely interest-rate increases.

Popular and FirstBank gained critical branches and deposits in a region where growth is hard to come by. Some observers said it could also benefit the island to have one less competitor.

A breakdown of M&A announcements in the financial services industry for the week ended Feb. 28.

JPMorgan Chase's leader is the latest big bank CEO to embrace organic growth, leaving some to wonder if he really sees the benefits or is just being realistic about the struggle that would be required to get regulators to bless a deal.

Amid heartbreaking tales told by distressed homeowners and reverse mortgage holders, many community groups praised OneWest CEO Joseph Otting for spending time speaking to them and hearing their communities' concerns.

Huntington had admired the finance firm for decades, but it was the Ohio company's Midwestern ties that helped it snag the unit from other suitors.

Pinnacle Financial recently bought a 30% stake in a firm that originates most of its loans to doctors online and then auctions them to community banks. The move promises higher fee income, but could also put Pinnacle at the forefront of banking's hottest trend.

Biddeford Savings Bank and Mechanics Savings Bank will form a holding company to help each cut costs and make bigger loans. But the thrifts are hoping to keep their own charters, and independence, over the long term.

The OTC Markets Group has opened up its community bank marketplace to privately held institutions, offering a chance for investors to monetize their holdings without selling the bank.

See all News on Bank Mergers, M&A Deals

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