Big banks usually buy into a new market only if they can grab significant market share. But last month New Jersey-based First Fidelity Bancorp defied the conventional wisdom.

The banking company, with $29.2 billion in assets, entered the tough New York market by acquiring five branches of the failed American Savings Bank. But the branches, in affluent areas of the Bronx and Westchester County, hold a scant $335 million in deposits.

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