As chairman of metropolitan New York's largest thrift, Dime Bancorp, Lawrence J. Toal often finds himself at the center of a storm of merger gossip.

Mr. Toal recently lost a big potential acquisition, Long Island Bancorp, to George L. Engelke Jr. of Astoria Financial Corp. But he remains unfazed. In a recent interview, Mr. Toal said he does not "feel any great compulsion to do a deal," despite the merger mania and record stock market valuations.

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