When tiny Grove Bank in suburban Boston hired Goldman Sachs & Co. recently as its investment banker, many in the industry were astonished that a giant investment house would team up with a $450 million-asset, seven-branch thrift.

But in the near future such marriages of big and small may become more commonplace. As consolidation sweeps community and midsize banks, experts say the large Wall Street advisers are increasingly forced to move down the asset ladder to look for merger and acquisition business.

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