The battle for Floridians' wallets is heating up.
A series of bank takeovers, spurred by the recent financial upheaval, has brought several new banking giants to the state -- already one of the most competitive landscapes in the nation for banking.
It takes a scorecard to keep track of the players:
• San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. bought a weakened Wachovia last year, snapping up the No. 1 position in deposit share for South Florida overnight.
• New York-based JPMorgan Chase acquired a teetering Washington Mutual, the big mortgage lender, which is providing a springboard to offer products and services beyond the old WaMu.
• Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group acquired National City Bank, setting a high priority on growing its business in Florida.
And in August, BB&T, of Winston-Salem, N.C., acquired the deposits and most assets of Colonial Bank from federal regulators, in a move that will elevate BB&T to a South Florida force from a cameo role.
``It's really going to be a competitive environment,'' said Miami banking analyst Ken Thomas, as he spotted a new temporary Chase sign at a South Dade shopping center branch last week. ``South Florida is one of the best banking markets in the country.''
The latest round of mergers marks a third wave for Florida -- following consolidations after the savings and loan crisis between 1989 and 1991 and the ``invasion of the North Carolina bankers'' in the mid-1980s and 1990s, said Thomas.
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