HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge signed legislation authorizing full interstate branching for the state's 290 financial institutions two years before the federal law takes effect.

The opt-in legislation, which took effect immediately, allows out-of- state banks to branch into Pennsylvania either by buying an existing bank and converting it into a branch or by setting up a new branch from scratch. The law requires reciprocity from the other state until June 1, 1997.

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