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Berkshire, Legacy Consolidating

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The latest round of consolidation in region's banking industry will see two of the largest teaming up.

The Berkshire Eagle is reporting that Berkshire Bank will buy Legacy Banks for $108 million, creating the biggest regional financial institution with more than $4 billion in assets. The Berkshire Bank name will remain (with Legacy added to it in the Berkshires) and Michael P. Daley will remain president and CEO. Legacy Banks President Patrick J. Sullivan will join the executive team.

Both financial institutions date back more than 150 years.

Employees were informed on Tuesday of the merger, which is expected to trim more than 40 of the two banks' 850 workers. Together, the banks have 66 branches in three states.

The merger is to be completed by June 2011. Sullivan told The Eagle that "it was no secret" Legacy had been losing money and talks between the publicly traded banks had been ongoing for several months. Berkshire Bank's acquisition of Legacy was described as a long-term, strategic move that will benefit shareholders and customers.

Customers should not see much of a change, said bank officials.

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