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VOL. 115 | NO. 156 | Wednesday, August 15, 2001

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Fed OKs Wachovia-First Union deal Fed OKs Wachovia-First Union deal After a contentious courtship from two rival suitors, Wachovia Corp. got the Federal Reserve's blessing to merge with First Union Corp., in a $14.6 billion deal that will create the nation's fourth-largest banking company with operations from Florida to Connecticut. The vote was 5-0 Monday by the Fed's board of governors, including Chairman Alan Greenspan, who determined that First Union's acquisition of Wachovia would not threaten competition. The banks, based in North Carolina, already had put 38 branches on the auction block to satisfy regulators' concerns about competition and announced their sale soon after news of the Fed's approval. Thirty-seven of the Wachovia and First Union branches in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia were sold to National Commerce Financial Corp., a sales and marketing company based in Memphis. The remaining branch, a First Union office in Salisbury, N.C., was going to First Bancorp, owner of First Bank in North Carolina. The sales prices were not disclosed for the 38 branches, which have total deposits of some $1.5 billion. In its order approving the merger, the Fed noted the Justice Department also conducted a review and advised the central bank that, given the sales of branches, the combination ``would not be likely to have a significantly adverse effect on competition in any relevant banking market.'' Wachovia shareholders ended a bitter takeover battle of Southern bank titans on Aug. 3 when they approved First Union's takeover bid, causing rival SunTrust Banks Inc. to concede defeat of its $15.1 billion unsolicited offer. The merger could be completed early next month. The combined bank will take the name Wachovia Corp., to be based in Charlotte, N.C., the home of First Union. ``We are confident that our integration efforts, which will be disciplined and unhurried, will bring together our two strong companies with superior customer service as the bedrock,'' said G. Kennedy Thompson, First Union's chairman and chief executive officer, and chief executive of the new Wachovia. ``We look forward to the creation of the new Wachovia.'' The new bank will have some $328.6 billion in assets, 19 million customers on the East Coast and 90,000 employees. The merger partners expect eventually to cut 7,000 jobs about half through attrition and close roughly 325 branches.
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 62 288 2,619
MORTGAGES 52 197 1,783
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 16 53 275
BUILDING PERMITS 0 569 5,701
BANKRUPTCIES 0 87 993
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 110 491
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0