Ms. Bird is a partner of Financial Management Advisors, a New York-based consulting firm, and author of "Supercommunity Banking: A Superstrategy for Success."

Is a merger of equals a myth? Many say it cannot be done. After my conversations with Jim Large and Dick Parsons, the respective CEOs of Anchor and Dime Savings Bank, which recently agreed to merge in an MOE, I believe if anyone can do it, they can. Mergers of equals are so difficult to implement because the personalities almost invariably get in the way. Parsons and Large are determined that, in their case, they will not let that happen.

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