Getting a big-name banker to join a board can be a coup for smaller institutions. It's also hard to pull off, but Berkshire Hills Bancorp recently showed it can be done.

The $6 billion-asset company announced last week that William Ryan, former chairman and chief executive at TD Banknorth, would become its chairman. Industry observers quickly praised the addition, noting that Ryan could help the Pittsfield, Mass., company with acquisitions and recruiting talent.

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