NEW YORK - Germantown Savings Bank is up 2.5% on heavy volume after an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer noted strong interest in the $1.6 billion-asset thrift by local banks.

The article also suggests a buyer might be willing to pay in the mid-to-high $60-a-share range for the franchise.

That figure suggests a price of more than two times reported book value, at Sept. 30, of $32.55 a share. Some industry observers suggested the price could exceed $70 a share based on a real book value of $36 a share, which includes excess reserves.

Germantown hired Alex. Brown $ Sons Inc. in mid-October to consider opportunities for the sale of the thrift. Germantown is up $1.25 to $52.25, and volume is three times normal.

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