With banks up and down the East Coast scrambling to merge or acquire other institutions, speculation is mounting that Boston-based BayBanks Inc. will become the next target for a takeover.

"They have a very attractive retail franchise in a demographically attractive area," said Mary Quinn, a bank analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc. "They would make a very handsome acquisition target, and they're certainly a consolidation candidate in the not-too-distant future."

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