The prospective merger of two of California's biggest thrifts is sure to increase the matchmaking tension among California's remaining crop of banks and thrifts, market watchers say.

"You'll have a triumvirate on the thrift side with H.F. Ahmanson, Washington Mutual, and now a bigger Golden State Bancorp," said analyst Thomas F. Theurkauf of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., New York.

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