Susquehanna Bancshares, Lititz, Pa., announced plans last week to buy two banks for a total of about $71.3 million.

The $3.5 billion asset company said it would pay $46 million in stock-or 2.75 times book value-for Cardinal Bancorp, Everett, Pa., and $25.3 million of stock for First Capitol Bank of York, Pa.

Cardinal, with assets of $130 million, owns 96-year-old First American National Bank of Pennsylvania. First Capitol, with $105 million of assets, has three branches in York.

As with other Susquehanna holdings, these banks would retain their names, their employees, and their local boards of directors.

Susquehanna owns nine banks and thrifts in eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey.

The Cardinal acquisition would extend Susquehanna's reach further west.

The deal "represents Susquehanna's commitment to expand in western Pennsylvania and to help assure the continuance of community banking" in the region, said president Robert S. Bolinger.

One analyst expressed surprise that Susquehanna would want to buy Cardinal. Cassandra Toroian, a research analyst at Ryan, Beck & Co., Livingston, N.J., said Mr. Bolinger had never expressed much interest in expanding into western Pennsylvania, which is growing more slowly than other parts of the state.

"If anything, I thought he would make more acquisitions in Maryland," where Susquehanna owns one bank and one thrift, she said.

Ms. Toroian predicted Susquehanna would make additional acquisitions in that region to make this deal cost-efficient. "If they are going to be in that marketplace, then they would want to penetrate it even more," she said.

Both transactions are expected to close in the third or fourth quarter.

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