Valley National Bancorp of Wayne, N.J., has bought two former Friendly's restaurants in northern New Jersey and says it plans to convert them into branches this year.

The $6.3 billion-asset parent company of Valley National Bank also said this week that it plans to open four other branches in northern New Jersey by yearend. Valley National has 117 branches, and its plans call for offices in Mountainside and Montvale - the two Friendly's sites - as well as in Chatham, Edgewater, Lodi, and Union City.

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