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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.

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CIT's John Thain and OneWest's James Otting, scheduled to speak today at a public hearing on their $3.4 billion M&A deal, will face complaints from community activists that they owe the public more after receiving substantial government help during the financial crisis.
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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.

Wealthy investors from China and the Middle East are using Citi's private bank to acquire land and fracking rights as vulnerable owners consider emergency liquidations.

A breakdown of M&A announcements in the financial services industry for the week ended Feb. 14.

Several Korean-American banks are entering markets and businesses designed to target mainstream clients and other ethnic groups. Such moves are viewed as a way to improve the bottom-line as revenue growth proves daunting.

Branch closings draw big headlines, but several large banks are entering new markets — or bulking up in underrepresented cities — by adding branches and hiring lenders. Bank of America, for instance, is planning a retail push in Denver and Minneapolis.

Metro Bancorp, which has been fielding calls to sell itself for nearly a year, disclosed that CEO Gary Nalbandian will take a medical leave to undergo bypass surgery. Metro's executive team will be tasked with an ongoing effort to improve performance and remain independent.

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