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2 San Diego Area Banks End Merger Discussions

San Diego County Business Editor

Less than one month after announcing plans to merge, directors of Rancho Santa Fe National Bank and Hidden Valley National Bank in Escondido on Tuesday called off the deal.

The collapse of the merger talks means that Rancho Santa Fe will proceed with its plans to open a branch office in Escondido sometime in the fall, according to President James A. Boyce.

No reason was given for the proposed merger’s collapse. “We both evaluated our positions and decided it would be better to go on” as independents, Boyce said. “It’s very possible for two groups of people to decide they aren’t compatible. I have nothing but good things to say about them.”

Hidden Valley President Michael R. Peters echoed Boyce. “We mutually agreed to terminate the merger talks,” he said.

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Rancho Santa Fe’s plans to open a branch--its third--in Escondido were put on hold once the merger was announced.

Boyce said Tuesday that his executives returned all of Hidden Valley’s financial information when the talks collapsed.

“Anything we copied we gave back--that was (required in) the letter of intent,” he said. “The only thing we retain is information.”

Had the merger been completed, the combined banks would have had more than $80 million in total assets and a capital base in excess of $7.5 million.

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