On Monday, M&T Bank, with $81 billion in assets, became the latest bank buyer, with a $3.7 billion deal to acquire Hudson City Bancorp, a $43.6 billion community bank in Paramus, N.J. The transaction, the largest bank merger this year, is slated to close in the second quarter of 2013, subject to regulatory approval.

Buffalo, N.Y. based M&T will gain an additional $25 billion in deposits, $28 billion in loans and 135 branches. Once the acquisition is completed, the bank will boast 870 branches stretching from upstate New York to Virginia.

M&T has actively pursued deals coming out of the recession. The bank last year picked up Wilmington Trust Corp. for more than $400 million to expand its wealth management services, one of the most lucrative segments of the industry. In 2008, M&T purchased Baltimore-based Provident Bankshares for $401 million.
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