The McColls and McCoys aren't the only bankers who know to do a deal. A good many small and mid-sized banks are also skilled at expanding their franchises, and that created a feeding frenzy in the first half of 1994.

Susquehanna Bancshares Inc. first ventured south of the Mason-Dixon line five years ago, when it bought Farmers & Merchants Bank of Hagerstown, MD. But that was a light raid compared to this year's full-scale assault, when it picked up three Maryland thrifts with a combined $900 million in assets.

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