The year's first half seemed tame compared to the fireworks of a year ago. Only six mergers announced in the banking industry topped $2 billion in transaction value and only three others topped $1 billion.

But the year's first six months were not without a few flashes of excitement. There were a couple of blockbuster deals, the biggest of which was Boston-based Fleet Financial Group's acquisition of BancBoston Corp. for about $16 billion.

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