TWO OF NEW ENGLAND'S largest bank companies appointed senior merger-and-acquisition strategists in the past two weeks, testifying to the inevitable consolidation that is coming to the struggling region's bank universe.

Shawmut National Corp. last week appointed John R. Berger, an executive vice president, to a new position as director of its merger and acquisition team. A few days earlier, Bank of Boston transferred James J. Pearl, who was chairman and chief executive of its Connecticut bank subsidiary, to sit full time on its four-person acquisition committee.

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