counterparts elsewhere can only dream about.

Since February, four San Diego County financial institutions have announced deals to sell at an average price of 3.75 times book value and 23.65 times 1998 earnings. That compares with 2.5 times book and 23.4 times earnings for all deals in California this year and the 2.44 times book and 21 times earnings for sales nationwide, according to statistics compiled by Alex Sheshunoff & Co. in Austin, Tex., and SNL Securities in Charlottesville, Va.

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