First Niagara Financial Group in Lockport, N.Y., and Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. in Pittsfield, Mass., did not need to apply for funds through the Treasury Department's Capital Purchase Program because they had just completed stock offerings of their own.

But the government has asked them to participate and now each says the offer was too good to pass up — even if there are strings attached. Both said they could use the Treasury funds to make acquisitions in their markets.

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