The American Stock Exchange, which is battling for listings with the other major exchanges, said it added eight bank and thrifts stocks in the first quarter.

The newcomers are Premier Bancshares, Firstfed American Bancorp, First National Corp., Unity Bancorp, Tompkins County Trustco Inc., Community Capital Corp., ArgentBank, and Northeast Bancorp.

The battle for banking business has heated up between the exchanges since Richard Syron, formerly president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, came aboard in 1994 vowing to target the industry. Mr. Syron said that the "improved listing picture" resulted from a more focused marketing effort by the exchange, and from expanded investor relations services that it offers to companies that list.

Nevertheless, Nasdaq, which competes with Amex for small bank listings, said 12 banks listed on its system in the quarter.

The New York Stock Exchange added one bank, Banco de Santiago.

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