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Big Bank Merger in Ohio

National City will acquire Provident Financial for $2.1 billion.

The recent wave of mergers involving regional lenders continued with Tuesday's announcement that

National City


is buying

Provident Financial


for about $2.1 billion.

The deal brings together two of Ohio's largest banks and comes on the heels of

North Fork Bank's


$6.3 billion acquisition of

GreenPoint Financial


, a merger that combines two New York-area banks.

In the wake of two recent mega-mergers --

J.P. Morgan Chase's

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acquisition of

Bank One

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, and

Bank of America's

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takeover of

FleetBoston Financial


-- regional lenders are opting to join forces to increase their retail customer base.

In the all-stock transaction, National City, the nation's 10th-largest bank in terms of assets, values Provident's shares at $40.17, a 15% premium to the stock's Friday close. The 15% premium is about average for most of the recent bank deals.

Provident stockholders will receive 1.135 shares of National City, based in Cleveland, in the deal.

Cincinnati-based Provident has 65 branches and $17 billion in assets. National City has 1,100 branches and $114 billion in assets.

Other recent regional mergers include the $6 billion combination of

Regions Financial

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Union Planters



Sovereign Bank's


$1.1 billion acquisition of

Seacoast Financial Services