Bank merger announcements plummeted for a second quarter in a row in the three months ended June 30, according to SNL Securities. Aggregate value of deals announced fell to $4.92 billion, from $ 5.67 billion in the first quarter and $8.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 1993, the data firm said.

Experts attributed the falloff to a lack of willing sellers, now that the banking industry has recovered from the asset-quality problems of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Some even said it might take a negative event, such as a quarter of weak bank earnings, to get the ball rolling again.

Some of the largest deals in the quarter involved thrifts in New England and California, where economic conditions remain poor.

In the biggest deal announced in the quarter, First Madison Bank of Dallas said it would acquire First Nationwide FSB of San Francisco for $1.1 billion - thus linking thrift companies consisting largely of the remnants of failed savings and loans.

A distant second in deal value was Fleet Financial Group's acquisiton of NBB Bancorp, New Bedford, Mass., for $447 million. First Interstate Bancorp's acquisition of Sacramento Savings Bank for $331 million was the third largest deal.

A comprehensive listing of the deals of the first half begins on page 12, as part of American Banker's M&A Roundup, a new special section that focuses on the deals and deal makers.

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