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Byline: David Sedore
Jul. 27--A brash New Jersey bank known for its customer service is hoping a $100 million deal for seven-branch Palm Beach County Bank will give it the foundation to become a force in South Florida.
In fact, Vernon W. Hill II, chief executive of Commerce Bank of Cherry Hill, N.J., said during a teleconference with stock analysts on Tuesday that the acquisition was the first step in a "massive expansion" into this market. Commerce Bank intends to open 15 to 20 branches here next year, eventually opening as many as 150 in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Martin counties, Hill said.
"We've been weighing whether to go north to …