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WHEN PNC BANK ANNOUNCED on July 10 that it was acquiring Midlantic in a $3 billion deal, one wag joked that the hungry banker--a phrase that Midlantic used for years in its advertisements--was itself getting swallowed up. But just two days later, when First Chicago and Detroit's NBD Bancorp agreed to a merger of equals valued at over $5 billion, even the jokers took notice. The pace of bank mergers this year is feverish, and banking analysts say the number of additional candidates is large. On bankers' short lists: Bank of Boston, Pittsburgh's Integra Financial, and UJB Financial. And on July 12, Chase Manhattan stock jumped 3% on an analyst's observation that a merger with Chemical would be "compelling."EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDS

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