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First Union-First Fidelity merger OK'd Fed gives approval for 6th-largest bank


The Federal Reserve Board gave First Union Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., and First Fidelity Bancorp. approval yesterday to merge, creating the nation's sixth-largest banking company.

The company, which will operate under the First Union name, will have $126 billion in assets, run the nation's largest branch

network and cover 12 Eastern states and Washington, D.C.

The Fed's decision follows an overwhelming vote by First Union and First Fidelity shareholders earlier this month to approve the merger.

The merger, first announced June 19, is still subject to approvals by state banking regulators in Delaware, Connecticut and South Carolina, a First Union spokesman said.

"We don't see any issues there," he said. "I'm sure [the approvals] will be in the next several weeks."

First Union will take charge of First Fidelity's 53 branches and $2.6 billion in deposits in Maryland.

Newark, N.J.-based First Fidelity took over Baltimore Bancorp, parent company of the Bank of Baltimore, last November and Household Bank FSB's branches here earlier this year.

First Union got a double dose of good news yesterday from the Fed.

The agency also approved First Union's acquisition of RS Financial Corp., which runs North Carolina's largest savings and loan, the spokesman said.

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