You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet After a slow start in 1995, experts expect the bank M&A market to accelerate, with a possible rise of mergers of equal and possibly even a resurgence of hostile deals. On the nonbank side, the search for fee income is likely to swerve from mortgage banks and money managers and to technology and finance companies. Will a bank buy a brokerage? See stories on pages 3A, Rankings of the Top 150 Deals ...page 4A Top M&A Advisers ... page 16A Top M&A Law Firms ... page 16A Beyond Poison Pills Understanding the booby traps banks deploy to thwart takeovers used to be simpler. Today the defenses available to independence-minded bankers range from shareholder rights to stock repurchases and costly golden parachutes for management. See story on page 13A One Man's Trash, Another's Treasure It has been called the garage sale of bank mergers and acquisitions. Branch deals are increasingly common - and potentially lucrative - as big banks pare down and little banks find opportunity where larger rivals saw overhead. See story on page 18A A Yellow Light Flashes for M&A The fourth-quarter plunge in bank stock prices has imperiled deals - such as those by Meridian Bancorp and Shawmut National Corp. - but could provide long-term opportunity for acquirers with strong track records and multiples to match. See story on page 19A

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