Last year's interstate branching law is bearing its first fruit. Three huge mergers have been announced in as many weeks, and almost everyone who pays attention to the industry believes the interstate law is at least partly responsible.

The banking concerns involved - including First Union Corp., PNC Corp., and First Chicago Corp. - are getting a jump on the interstate banking part of the law, which takes effect Sept. 1. After that date, banking companies will be free to buy banks in any state.

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