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Merger and acquisition activity is ramping up as industry leaders focus on increasing scale to weather depressed net interest margins at the same time as seeking ways to enhance convenient distribution channels, diversify geographic presence and retain/obtain talented employees.

According to S&P Global, U.S. bank M&A activity continued through August at an accelerated pace with 20 new deals, bringing 2021’s year-to-date deal announcements to 132, compared to 103 for all of 2020. Credit union merger activity has also increased with the NCUA approving 74 mergers in the first half of 2021, compared to 67 consolidations in the first half of 2020.

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