The pace of bank and thrift deal announcements picked up in the third quarter, but their value plummeted to the lowest total in more than three years.

The number of announcements rose 25% from the second quarter, to 99. But the aggregate value of these prospective transactions plunged to $8.1 billion -- the least since the second quarter of 1996, according to data compiled by Sheshunoff Information Services, an American Banker affiliate.

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