Now that Norman E. Dean of Pacific Bank and Georges S. St. Laurent of Western Bank have signed a letter of intent to merge, the two chief executives will have to figure out a good rationale for the deal.

"Someplace there have to be synergies, and we will look for them, but it is hard to address right now what those are," said Mr. Dean.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.