Turning First Fidelity Bancorp. around was only a start for Anthony T. Terracciano, chairman and chief executive of New Jersey's largest bank. Since he joined First Fidelity in 1990, Mr. Terracciano has transformed it into one of the Northeast's hottest superregionals.

He brought the bank back from the brink by slashing expenses, cleaning up its real estate loan portfolio, and securing capital by selling a 20% stake to Spain's Banco Santander.

That done, the 55-year-old New Jersey native and former Chase Manhattan Corp. vice chairman went on a buying spree. His two-year acquisition binge has given First Fidelity the largest share of deposits in New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania.

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