After a few years of bargain hunting, it looks like buyers are willing to pay up for bank branches.

Data on deals announced so far this year shows a median deposit premium of 4%, an improvement of more than 60 basis points from the levels of the last two years. Recently, a few larger branch deals have had even higher premiums, including one announced last week in which First Financial Bancorp in Cincinnati agreed to pay a 6.41% premium for $346 million in deposits and 16 branches from Liberty Savings Bank in Wilmington, Ohio.

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