Last year, as the private bankers at First Interstate Bank of California prepared to enter the lucrative San Diego market, they ran into San Diego Trust at almost every turn. , "We developed a prospect list, and it turned out that most of the names on the list were San' Diego Trust clients," said John Macon, First Interstate's senior vice president of private banking.

Rather than battle the local leader, First Interstate came up with an easier solution. It simply bought the $2 billion-asset bank, closing the deal two months ago. And, as executives of both banks tell it, the two organizations go together like champagne and caviar.

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